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  • Writer's pictureAubrey Harris

How Can Divorce Impact Your Wealth?

Over the last decade, we’ve watched as society has developed a more positive attitude toward divorce and a weaker commitment to marriage.

Cultural discussions highlight the impact this has on family, community and developmental dynamics.

However, long-term financial consequences of marriage dissolution are seldom discussed.

For non-white women with children, divorce reduces housing, financial, and vehicle wealth while increasing the likelihood of outstanding debt.

Across races, men with and without children tend to be in a better position due to higher pre-separation income opportunities.

However, divorced men and women can experience up to an 82% unrecoverable reduction in personal wealth throughout their lifetime.

Wealth and/or financial stability is the primary resource to attain basic physiological and safety needs.

This isn’t to suggest remaining in unfulfilling, unhealthy, and potentially abusive relationships for money. Similarly, it doesn’t guarantee that marriage will result in longstanding wealth.

However, this insight does highlight a need to proactively discuss the implications of marriage and divorce.

Below are a few steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of dissolution in a future or existing marriage:

  1. Build a foundation of fun and friendship. Relationships are work, but don’t forget to connect and enjoy each other’s company outside of practical and transactional interactions. We often allow more flexibility and less rigid expectations when we see the other person in the relationship as a friend rather than just our partner.

  2. Do your part. This includes initiating conversations, relationship skill-building, fostering awareness of personal attitudes, and self-work to reduce the impacts of previous financial and/or relational trauma.

  3. Talk about the sensitive topics. Proactive conversations about money, household tasks, and values (i.e., whether divorce is even on the table) prevents a great deal of conflict when challenges inevitably arise. And when they do, see #4.

  4. Learn how to manage conflict. Create an action plan for addressing disagreements rather than dismissing or letting them fester. Avoid behaviors of criticism, defensiveness, stonewalling, and contempt.

Seek professional guidance. Don’t wait until your relationship is on the edge to seek community or professional support. A third party can provide valuable tools for managing conflict and strengthening your relationship during early stages.

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