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More Money, Fewer Problems: Study Shines Light on Income and Divorce


Money problems are at the center of many divorces, particularly at low-income levels. A new study shines a light on income and divorce and how more money means fewer problems.  

Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles Divorce, and the RAND Corporation found that divorce rates for low-income workers decline as minimum wage levels rise in states across the country. The study also concluded that those workers are also slightly more likely to delay getting married as wages rise.

“When the lives of poorer families get easier — that is, when they can be less poor — relationships within the family get easier as well, without anyone needing to be taught anything,” UCLA psychologist Benjamin Karney said in a statement announcing the results of the study. “Any policies that address income inequality are likely to have measurable benefits for family stability.”

Karney and his team found that divorces among low-income workers dropped by 7% to 15% over the first two years when minimum wages in their state were boosted by $1 above the federal minimum wage ($7.25 per hour). They also found that divorce rates fell by 3% to 6% following the same minimum wage bumps.

“Financial considerations play a substantial role in whether couples consider their relationships worth maintaining,” Karney added. “Economic stress and financial strain predict less satisfying and less stable marriages, and higher levels of poverty and consumer debt predict a greater risk of divorce.”

The study defined low-wage workers as people earning $20 an hour or less.

The research team looked at data from two prominent federal surveys: the Current Population Survey, a primarily telephone-based survey of approximately 60,000 households in populous areas, and the American Community Survey, a primarily mail-based survey of approximately 300,000 households in all geographic areas.

Considering a Divorce? Do Not Go it Alone

This new study shines light on income and divorce, giving ample proof of the role that money and finances often play in divorce decisions.

Roughly 35 percent of respondents in a 2021 SunTrust Bank survey said finances were to blame for stress in their relationships. More than half (54 percent) of people participating in a separate survey said a partner’s debt is a “major reason” to consider splitting up.

Meanwhile, a study rolled out last year by the University of California San Diego found that couples who disagree widely on savings and investments are twice as likely to call it quits than those who are on the same page.

Whether you are getting divorced over financial issues or for other reasons, the decision can be difficult, stressful and emotionally challenging for everyone involved. Fortunately, you do not need to go it alone. An experienced divorce lawyer can guide you through the process of ending your marriage and efficiently resolve a wide range of related legal issues.

How Our Divorce Lawyers Can Help

The Grand Rapids divorce lawyers at Kraayeveld Law have decades of combined experience assisting people considering a divorce. We are dedicated professionals who take the time to understand each client’s unique situation and craft a plan tailored to their individual goals.

Call 616-285-0808 or contact us online to make an appointment to speak with a Grand Rapids divorce lawyer about your situation.