How Debt Negatively Affects Your Marriage
Couples have enough trouble keeping their marriages together today. With work, child care activities, and taking care of elderly relatives, couples rarely have enough time for themselves anymore. Unfortunately, debt is another burden for married couples, and it can easily lead to a divorce. In fact, financial difficulties are one of the major reason couples decide to head to divorce court.
Debt Increases Stress in a Relationship
According to a 2015 study of couples, finances were the leading cause of stress in their relationships. In fact, 35% of respondents cited money as the prime cause of difficulty. Furthermore, arguments about money lasted longer and were more intense than arguments about other stressors, such as children or sex.
This means that debt can easily derail a relationship that would otherwise be healthy. In fact, one study showed that arguments about money early in the relationship is the best predictor of future divorce. If couples do not get a handle on their debt load soon, they could lose more than an excellent credit score. They could lose their partner as well.
Debt Breeds Resentment
Sometimes, only one spouse has incurred most of the debt that both are working diligently to pay off. For example, one spouse might have taken out giant student loans to cover college or graduate school, or one spouse splurged and bought a fancy car. Spouses are also likely to spend money in secret. In fact, about 6% of people have secret credit cards or bank accounts that they hide from their spouse. When a husband or wife finds out about these hidden accounts, they can become even angrier.
Debt Reduces Intimacy
As couples fight, they naturally drift apart. Emotional and physical intimacy begin to suffer as the two of you spend less and less time together. With financial concerns weighing on your mind, you might start fighting whenever you see each other, which can only increase your alienation.
Help Is Available
Instead of watching your marriage fall apart, you should proactively address your debt load. There are many options you can take, and not every option is ideal for everyone. However, you and your spouse should consider what will negatively impact your credit score the least, and which options will set you up for a brighter future.
In addition to credit counseling, debt settlement, and debt consolidation, you should certainly consider bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can wipe out unsecured debt like medical or credit card debt. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a quick and efficient way of getting a fresh financial start. Though your credit score will take a quick hit, you can quickly begin to rebuild your credit.
Another option is a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which helps you reorganize your debts and pay them off over a number of years. With a Chapter 13, you can keep more of your assets and dig yourself out of debt in a structured way.
At Nowack & Olson, we help clients in financial distress begin to put their lives in order. We are happy to take a look at your financial situation and analyze which path forward is best. Contact us today at our Plantation office for a free consultation.