National Divorce Day

Solicitors and lawyers tell us that they are bracing themselves for the surge of calls they are expecting on 4th January 2021 when couples, who have seen through the festive season, but feel enough is enough and are ready to part.  The first day of the year has been named National Divorce Day.

2020 has not been an easy year for anyone. For couples who were already not happy 9 months of on-off lockdown will only have magnified the problems.  

Money is the number one reason couples fight about and the second biggest reason for divorce after infidelity.   

Money in relationships is easy to cause frustration and tension.  After all, you have both experienced life very differently growing up and will have different views and beliefs around money.  Trying to merge our love and our money is tricky to do without a bumpy ride.   Here are 6 tips on how to appreciate each other’s differences and find the bridge that you can both cross to a new place of financial harmony and financial intimacy.

  1. Have a joint bank account.  A joint household bank account, for bills and all household expenses will give both of you clarity on how the house runs.  You are in a partnership – a team.  Separating the money where you each pay some bills independently is a bad idea that will only lead to more problems later.  Put your money together and begin to look at it as a whole.  
  2. You each have a money story. Your unique story of growing up hearing messages about money and seeing your own role models to learn from.  Maybe your parents were very hard workers and instilled in you that “you have to work hard for your money”, whilst you partner may have been raised in a household where it was believed that money came easily to all that believed it would.  Take some time to chat openly, and lightly about your childhood experiences with each other. 
  3. Talk about your lifestyle choices together.  Marriage is all about compromise.  If one of you has expensive tastes that your budget cannot afford, find a compromise.  Eg: try shopping at shopping outlets to get the same brands at prices that do meet the budget.
  4. Set expectations together. Talk openly about what you want in life.  Do you have similar financial goals?  Do you have a level of lifestyle that you want to achieve?  See if you can plan together so that both of your ideals can be met.  If not use compromise where you can.
  5. Avid financial infidelity. This is where you keep purchases, bank accounts or credit cards secret from one another.  Financial secrecy will lead to problems in the future.  Especially if you have set financial expectations as in point 4.   Buying secret stuff or stashing your own cash is another way of being unfaithful.
  6. Talk to each other with kindness always.  It is easy to become charged or triggered over financial matters and race into an argument with all guns blazing.  Instead ask your partner if now is a good time to talk.  Tell them what you are seeing as the situation, and how you feel about it.  Explain to them what you need to not feel triggered or charged and then ask them if you can discuss it.

There are many ways to rebuild a partnership or marriage if it is the right thing for you both.  If money is one of your biggest bugbears, then I hope these tips will help you.  If you are able to have an open mind and remember the good parts of your relationship and the things that are working for you then hopefully, there will be another Christmas for you both together.