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Staying Together for Financial Reasons

By: Lorna Elliott LLB (hons), Barrister - Updated: 3 Aug 2010 |
Divorce Marriage Money Financial Reason

A surprisingly large number of couples stay together for financial reasons. This is more often the case in periods of financial instability than in times of economic boom. People who stay together because they can’t afford to divorce or separate argue that the financial aspects of their marriage are sufficiently important to keep the marriage together. In order to understand this, you have to look at the alternatives.

Divorce as an Option

People who divorce can be prone to depression for all sorts of reasons, but especially men. Married people also live longer than those who are single, and are generally happier as individuals. Statistics notwithstanding, you have to decide what’s best for you in light of your own circumstances. If you are considering staying together because of money, you will need to work out what is at stake financially before you can make a decision. How much money are you talking about? Sit down and work out how much you stand to lose if you and your spouse go your separate ways. If the amount is negligible, then there really is no reason to stay together – unless there’s some other reason that you are staying married? So what is ‘negligible’? It’s an amount that doesn’t spell financial disaster for one or both spouses. If you calculate your losses, and realise that you would be able to survive, then there shouldn’t be anything stopping you. That is, unless there are other issues that you haven’t yet considered.

Other Reasons For Staying Together

If you’re able to wear the financial loss of a divorce, yet don’t feel like it’s enough to make you decide to divorce, it could be that you’re ignoring other issues. Have you tried to restore the devotion and love in your marriage that you once shared? Can you honestly say that you tried your best? What about your children? Are they of a sufficient age to be able to understand why you and your spouse need to go your separate ways? Can you separate or divorce without having to go to court? Would you be able to settle financial matters without a long and drawn out bitter battle, while you both hide behind your respective lawyers? And what about staying friends with your spouse? Could you do this, even just for the sake of your children? This is important in case there are issues that need to be addressed in the future.

If There Are Substantial Assets Involved

The more money that a couple has, the more there is to consider. If a lot of your assets are bound up together, you will need to consider how each of you will fare if everything has to be divided or sold. What are the tax implications for both of you, including capital gains? What about your pensions: how will they be affected? If you are unsure, there is no harm in going to speak confidentially to a divorce lawyer or an accountant to find out what your options are. The longer you stay together, the more bound up your finances are likely to be. Whatever you decide, you need to ensure that you are making the right decision for the right reasons. If there are children involved, the financial pros and cons should pale into insignificance when it comes to their best interests.

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