Financial pressures and disagreements about money frequently motivate people in California to end their marriages. Surveys of divorcees conducted by Debt.com in 2022 and 2023 showed noticeable increases in the numbers of people reporting that debts undermined their marriages and created disputes that drove them apart.
Disagreements on big purchases
Expensive purchases of vehicles, fancy furniture or appliances were cited by 42% of survey respondents as the biggest reason they got divorced. They could not come to an agreement with their spouses about how and when to make major purchases.
Arguments about large purchases were a greater source of tension than credit card debts that usually represent an accumulation of small purchases. The survey found that 29% of people considered credit card debt as the leading cause of relationship breakdown. Overall, debts and financial strain went up by 7% from 2022 to 2023 as the top contributor to divorce.
Debts are community property
State law calls for an equal division of community property when spouses part ways. Community property is everything that a married couple owns during the marriage or owes. Debts, even if in one spouse’s name only, still remain community property if acquired during the marriage.
Dividing up debts when splitting up community property during a divorce can be a sticking point for people. This is especially so if you do not want to be responsible for paying half of a debt that you never agreed to or even knew about.
Debts may delay divorce
Due to nervousness about splitting up debts, people sometimes choose separation instead of divorce. This choice can be attractive to people saddled with hefty debts who are not ready to take on half of them as a single person.