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The role of financial risk preferences in divorce

On Behalf of | Dec 5, 2021 | Divorce

Married Pennsylvania couples will deal with many disagreements over the years, ranging from trivial to serious. Having disagreements is not necessarily a sign of a marriage in poor health, though, and they are often resolved in time. However, there is at least one dispute that experts consider an indication of future divorce. 

Money matters 

It is normal for married couples to have differences of opinions over certain things, but that difference of opinion could spell disaster when it has to do with money. A 2021 study found that frequent conflicts about finances even in otherwise happy marriages is one of the biggest predictors of divorce. In fact, the risk of divorce is doubled for these couples. 

It is important to note that couples who disagree about financial risks early on in a marriage are not necessarily destined for divorce. Preference assimilation — or adapting one’s risk preferences to those of a partner — is a common mechanism for approaching conflict in marriage. Couples who can assimilate to each other’s risk preferences are more likely to stay together than those who do not. Those with different risk preferences who do not assimilate may not necessarily end up divorced, but are less likely to meet goals such as: 

  • Purchasing a home 
  • Renovating a home 
  • Taking on beneficial financial risks 

Discussing finances prior to saying “I do” can be helpful for couples who are not sure whether their financial risk preferences match. Some even choose to sign a prenuptial agreement during these discussions. Regardless of whether a Pennsylvania couple has a prenup or not, divorce due to financial matters can still take a toll on one’s emotional and financial wellbeing. Working closely under the guidance of a knowledgeable attorney may be key to easing some of that burden. 

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