Debt, or money problems to be more accurate, causes stress. When this stress is consistent over a sustained period of time it can damage existing relationships, your work and even your health.
Divorce and debt problems are often associated together. Thankfully in my case I was fortunate enough that debt did not completely destroy my relationship with my wife, however, it definitely did serious damage.
Is Divorce A Cause or Effect of Debt?
Well it’s not strictly known if debt causes divorce or if divorce is the reason why people get into debt. In truth, it’s probably both.
When you split from a partner your income remains the same while your expenditure doubles. You now have two rents / mortgages, double the electricity / gas and other expenditure for another property which you didn’t have before.
Or, do people get divorced because their debt problems have caused friction and feelings which are irreconcilable?
Both are probably true in many situations.
Keeping A Marriage Together During Debt
I have no relationship qualifications and if my wife ever reads this I’m sure she’ll mock my attempts to share relationship advice. But, we made it through a very difficult patch when I was unemployed and in debt.
On a daily basis we would expect the postman to bring us more harrowing news that our debts had grown, we were overdrawn, the bank wanted their money back or deliver a new threatening letter demanding money. The pressure of the situation couldn’t have been more frightening.
It was an all round horrible period. So, I can understand how people could potentially split up because of debt. For us, the top things we did which helped keep us together were:
- Despite having no money we spent time together. We played board games, watched TV together and went for walks. It actually helped us communicate because we had no money.
- We felt like we were in it together. Debt will divide people but we sought a collective route out of debt.
- Remember the good times. Every marriage will go through good and bad periods, but it’s the good times which help you through the bad. We’ve had plenty of good times and those really helped keep us together.
What To Do If You’re Divorcing Through Debt
I know that the three tips above may seem trivial and for many they are. Debt is the catalyst to divorce. I believe that people looking for a reason to divorce their partner can use debt as a perfect reason. If there were cracks in the relationship before debt problems then when times get hard it can be impossible to remain together.
If you are divorcing and have debt problems then there are some things to consider.
1. Assets: If you are divorcing then the equity in any assets would have to be considered. Usually it’s a house or car but you’ll have to decide what will happen. Remember, some debt solutions expect you to release equity from your assets.
2. Budget: Create a budget plan for how you will live outside of the marriage. It’s often more expensive to live elsewhere, as opposed to the marital home, especially if there are children involved.
3. Unsecured Debt: The unsecured debt may be in joint names. This means that you are both liable for the FULL amount. If the debt is £20,000 then you both owe this amount, not £10,000 each.
4. Secured Debt: If you have secured debt, like a mortgage, then this will have to continue to be paid, even if you are not living in the house. Otherwise the property will be repossessed and you could find that extra costs and fees are passed onto you.
Debt & Your Life?
If debt has impacted your life, whether your marriage, relationship with friends or other family then share your experiences. You will not be alone.