Financial decisions can be very stressful on a marriage. Spouses commonly disagree about money and it can lead them to consider a divorce. Once you have reached the conclusion that divorce is the next step, you will likely consider what process for divorce will save you some money.

Here are three ways that finances can strain a marriage and potentially lead to divorce and ways Collaborative Divorce can help you.

  1. One spouse saves, the other spends

Often, when two people get married, they vow that “what’s mine is yours.” In California, a community property state, the savings and debts incurred during the marriage can be considered community property.

While combining assets is not inherently negative, it can create a significant amount of tension between two spouses with different financial habits and goals. The most common example of this is if one spouse tends to save money while the other tends to spend more. When it comes to divorce, this can be a problem when one party is ordered to pay the attorney’s fees for the other because one party is a higher earner. One way around the excessive attorney’s fees is to use the Collaborative Divorce process where you each have your own attorney, divorce coach, and a neutral financial specialist to help you complete the divorce. The advantage in Collaborative Divorce is that your team of professionals is able to communicate with each other as well as with the clients. This can help you work better together and avoid long winded letters between attorneys.

  1. Excessive debt

There is no doubt that finances can cause stress. And debt can be one of the most stressful financial issues to deal with. According to CNBC, the total household debt across California and the nation has increased significantly in the last twelve years.

The total amount of household debt often includes:

  • Student loan debts
  • Credit card debt
  • Mortgage debt
  • Auto loans

Managing debt in and of itself is stressful, and therefore can place a significant amount of stress on a relationship as well. In Collaborative Divorce the financial neutral can give both of you advice on the best way to manage the debt moving forward.

  1. Spouses hide financial issues

In some cases, couples with different financial goals and habits might face a larger issue of financial infidelity. For example, some spouses might hide debt from each other. Others might hide large purchases to avoid an argument with a spouse who saves money.

This can be a significant issue that not only affects the couple’s finances, but also the trust in their relationship. That is why communicating about finances is one of the most important steps couples can take. The benefit of using a financial specialist in Collaborative Divorce is that he or she is creating a single universe of assets and debts as opposed to two attorneys creating separate disclosures and then compiling them. This alleviates some of the friction between the spouses in finalizing the division of assets and debts. The financial neutral is also trying to help both spouses come away from the divorce with a sound financial plan.

It is important to note that money issues will not disappear simply because of a divorce. In California, divorcing spouses must still divide their finances – and their debts – in their divorce. However, using Collaborative Divorce can help you save money on the process of the divorce as well as set you and your spouse up for financial success moving forward.