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If you fight about money, divorce could be on the horizon

You got married when you were both in your 30s, and you were already fairly set in your ways, financially speaking. You took your finances very seriously and knew exactly what you wanted to do with every cent.

Maybe your first fight about money was small. Your new spouse wanted to buy something that you thought was unimportant, and you complained. Maybe the next fight got bigger; you wanted to buy a new car for your company, and your spouse thought you should buy a family car, instead. Things just escalated from there, and soon it felt like money was at the heart of every disagreement.

Trouble in Shangri-La?

If this all sounds familiar, experts warn that you could be heading for divorce. Fighting about money breaks up more marriages than issues with children, intimacy, in-laws or anything else.

This is true across the board. Researchers said it didn’t matter how much people earned, how much debt they had, what their net worth looked like or whether they were male or female. If a couple argued about money, especially when they hadn’t been married for long, it could be used to predict a future divorce.

Part of the issue could simply be fundamental differences in how you see money. These are hard to change and may never shift, even as the years go by. Maybe you like to save for the future and live a very spartan lifestyle, while your spouse likes to spend and have fun. It doesn’t matter who is right and who is wrong. If you look at money so differently, it’s going to spark arguments and cause stress. At first, you may try to bull through, but you may eventually decide to split up.

Another part of the issue could be that you feel personally wronged when your spouse uses money that you both have a right to in a way you don’t like. For instance, if your spouse buys a new car that you said the family didn’t need, spending $40,000 that you thought of as “your” money, you almost feel like you were robbed. Even if you could technically afford the car, you could still be deeply angry about your spouse’s behavior.

It works both ways

Telling your spouse that he or she can’t spend money just because you wouldn’t choose to spend it a certain way is very restrictive. It doesn’t make for a healthy relationship. Your spouse could feel just as deeply wronged by this controlling attitude as you’d feel if he or she spent the money without talking to you first.

Again, when predicting divorce, all of the little details about the argument – why it happened, who was on which side, or who won – don’t tend to matter. The above are just two examples of how things could play out, but there are hundreds of other possibilities. What matters is that you fight consistently over your finances, slowly breaking the marriage apart.

If you do wind up getting divorced, especially as a business owner with a lot of assets at your disposal, you must know your legal rights. You want to protect your own assets and your company as much as possible.