What You Need to Know About Marriage, Money and Divorce

I had a huge realization about marriage when my wife said that she wanted to get divorced. What I learned is that marriage is not about romance. It is actually a contract between two people and the state that determines the rules regarding money, property, child support and more when the marriage comes to an end. It other words, your marriage license is essentially a business contract.

It Starts With “I Do” and Ends With “You Will”

Very few people understand marital law when they say, “I do.” Getting married is about romance and the happily ever afters, right? Why would anyone risk spoiling the their marital bliss by talking about money and property rights at the beginning of their marriage… It just isn’t romantic to do that. In fact those who present a prenup are often looked down upon as being greedy and unromantic. When the marriage is over, however, your divorce papers will tell you what “you will” and what you “will not” do.

Financial freedom can ease stress in a marriage. Photography by Paul Garrett

Financial freedom can ease stress in a marriage. Photography by Paul Garrett

Marriage is Like a Business

Whether you are starting a business with a partner or vowing to spend the rest of your days with the love of your life, it is actually very wise to understand the terms of your agreement, set rules for how you are going to manage your money and your property, and state how things will be handled if one of you wants to leave the marriage. Yes this is unromantic, however, it can save you a lot of pain and big legal bills in the end to have this conversation up front and to document it in a legal agreement. Having adult talks up front about the three pillars of marriage, money, sex and children may actually help you to avoid the most common pitfalls of marriage. As a result you will have a stronger foundation for forming a stronger bond and an understanding of how you will navigate together through the storms of life that couples often face.

Marriage Statistics in the USA

According to James Sexton, who is the author of the book, “If You’re In My Office, It’s Already Too Late: A Divorce Lawyer’s Guide to Staying Together,” fifty-three percent of marriages in the USA end in divorce. Furthermore, an additional 20 percent of couples are unhappy in their marriages, but stay together for their kids. And lastly, an estimated five percent more remain married for religious reasons. 

53% of marriages in the USA end in divorce.

20% more couples are in unhappy marriages, but stay for their kids.

5% more stay for religious reasons.
— James J. Sexton, ESQ.

These statistic are very sad to me. Especially since I am also the survivor of and unwanted divorce and I have experienced the painful consequences of uncoupling. There are many financial pressures that are put upon families these days and so many expectations that lead to the kinds of stress that are toxic to a loving relationship. By being conscious of these factors you can minimize the stress and work together to create harmony and happiness. 

Before You Get Married

If you are about to get married, it is important that you and your partner talk about money, sex and how you are going to raise your children if you chose to have them. It is also important to understand each other’s spending habits and to realize that if your partner is in debt, that you are going to be responsible for fifty percent of it once you are married. 

If you are bringing a lot of money into the marriage, it is wise for you to have a prenuptial agreement to protect it. My dad had a good friend who remarried after his first wife passed away. He had saved all of his life so that he could have a comfortable retirement. When his second wife divorced him, she was awarded half of his money. As a result, he no longer had the financial resources to take trips and do all of the things that he had dreamed of doing in retirement.

The Bottom Line With Marriage

The bottom line is that marriage is a contract that is bound by laws that have a significant impact upon your finances. Take care of the business aspects of your partnership up front and so that you can create peace and understanding to support your happily ever afters no matter what happens. 

Marriage is a beautiful thing between two loving people. But it requires constant work and excellent communication to help it bloom. Take time to talk about your values and your dreams with your partner ahead of time so that you can understand and support one another. 

I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this subject. You can leave a comment in the box below or connect with me on Instagram.

Wishing you the best as always,


Awaken • Inspire • Empower

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