How Are Divorce and Bankruptcy Linked?

Interviewer: Well we’ll start off with the intersection of bankruptcy and divorce. You mentioned that the two interplay. Does divorce always lead to bankruptcy? Does bankruptcy always lead to divorce? How does this happen?

Finances and Divorce: A Struggling Economy Can Lead to an Increase in the Divorce Rate

Tanya: There are many situations, particularly in the last couple of years, where the economy has been very poor and people are behind on their mortgages or people have lost jobs when they had been steadily employed.

These financial crises cause a lot of stress in marriages and sometimes people can’t withstand this level of stress or change in financial circumstances and people do get divorced as a result. It happens. It’s unfortunate, but it happens.

Divorce Typically Precedes Bankruptcy Filing but Financial Troubles Are Attributed as the Impetus for the Divorce

Interviewer: Which event is the first to occur? Is it bankruptcy that happens first or divorce?

Tanya: Well, it’s not the actual bankruptcy, the circumstances that would lead up to a bankruptcy or a level of extreme debt that can be resolved through the bankruptcy. The financial troubles are what cause the stress in a lot of marriages.

Statistically, Divorce Is More Likely to Occur if the Husband Becomes Unemployed for a Prolonged Period of Time

If one person loses his job, that alone isn’t usually a cause for divorce. Then what’s happens, particularly to men, is they become very depressed from having lost the job. The level of effort that they’re making, either in the household or in terms of getting another job, may or may not be there and I think that’s what puts more stress on the marriage. I do not mean to characterize a gender-specific stereotype, but that is primarily what I have seen occur.

Interviewer: Most probably, men feel as if they have the burden to make the money to support the family so when they can’t, I imagine that makes them feel less like a man. Maybe that’s why they get depressed.

Tanya: I don’t know what it is, but I’ve seen this phenomenon many times and the truth is if a person loses his or her job, it’s hard on the marriage. This is because the other person tends to feel that the unemployed party is really not trying.

If the man or the woman had a job before and they lost it due to the economy or for whatever reason, if the person rebounds and starts to work again it may not be the same amount of money, but it is at least showing that they’re making a good faith effort to help the family unit and to help be productive and to be constructive.

The marriage usually will stay together because the person is making the effort. It’s when the person doesn’t appear to be making the effort or doesn’t make the effort that’s really where the marriage fails. It’s not just the dollars and cents. It’s the effort that’s being put in.

In Some Instances, Women Stop Working to Raise the Children and Decline to Get a Job When the Children No Longer Require the Same Level of Care

Interviewer: That makes sense. What about women? Do they respond differently to a loss of a job versus men?

Tanya: I haven’t heard that articulated as much. Truthfully, it may just be the people that are coming to see me. There are many instances, however, where women will stop working. For example, that is not always based on the economy. In some families, the young children need to be taken care of, so women will stop working when they’re little. As the children are older and they don’t really require as much of mom’s attention anymore, there may have been an understanding with the husband that she would go back to work after the kids were older and then they refuse to do that.

Resentment Can Occur in a Marriage When One Party Feels They Are Shouldering the Entire Financial Responsibility

They may just say, I don’t want to and I have too much to do at home, or whatever the reason and that also puts stress and resentment again into the marriage. If the burden is difficult and it’s being left to one person, no matter which party it is, that person is going to become resentful.

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