There are healthy alternatives to staying in a marriage for financial reasons
There are many financial advantages to staying in a marriage for financial reasons. It is much more expensive to maintain two households than one household. There are personal advantages too such as that insurance policies generally include spouses. Staying married to the wrong person does have costs though. The saying that money doesn’t buy happiness is true. While you may be alone for a while after a divorce, you, hopefully with time, will start a new relationship with someone you truly love.
New Jersey’s family laws do consider the finances of both spouses when deciding how to divide marital property, who gets custody, and the amounts of alimony and child support. If you’re feeling trapped in a marriage because of money, an experienced New Jersey divorce lawyer can help address your financial fears and explain the advantages of starting a new life after a divorce.
Why do people who are trapped in a relationship financially stay married?
Some of the reasons spouses consider staying in a marriage for financial reasons are:
- The cost of a home. Generally, once you’ve gone to the expense of buying a home and obtaining a mortgage, the amount of the mortgage and related home expenses are less than the cost of maintaining the home after the divorce – and also paying for an apartment for the spouse who moves out. Even if spouses sell the home, the cost of two apartments or two homes is more than the cost of one home. Keeping the marital home is a major reason spouses consider staying in a marriage for financial reasons
- The cost of living. The utility costs, grocery costs, and many other costs are lower for two people than they are for one. Staying in a marriage for financial reasons is often a consideration because marriage saves on the cost of childcare. When the spouses are together, the other spouse can take care of a child when one spouse needs to work and the relatives of both spouses are usually cost-free – as compared to paying for childcare.
- Helping a spouse with a career. When parents have pre-school children, often one parent stays home so the other spouse can earn a living. Spouses may continue to be financially trapped in a marriage that is over so that one spouse can continue their education or work at their career.
There are many other reasons why spouses consider staying in a marriage for financial reasons:
- There are often tax benefits to filing joint tax returns.
- Health insurance benefits are a common reason for staying in a marriage for financial reasons
- For older spouses, the surviving spouse may receive Social Security through the other spouse’s Social Security benefits.
Reasons to reconsider staying in a marriage for financial reasons
Divorce is a strong alternative to being stuck in marriage for financial reasons. Staying together isn’t good for your emotional health. Staying in a marriage for financial reasons isn’t healthy for your children either. The good news is that our experienced New Jersey lawyers have helped numerous spouses divorce and financially protect their future. Family judges are required by law to consider the financial circumstances of each spouse when deciding how to equitably divide marital property and what alimony and child support orders should be made.
Keeping the marital home
- The standard of living during the marriage or civil union.
- The economic circumstances of the spouses or partners.
- The income and earning capacity of each party including their job skills, education, and work experience
- The contributions each party made to the earning power, education, and training of the other spouse
- Many other factors that help address the issue of staying in a marriage for financial reasons
Often, you have the right to more assets than you might think. For example, you likely have a right to some of your spouse’s retirement benefits – if the benefits have vested.
The Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985 (COBRA) helps provide insurance coverage when the marriage is over.
If you are feeling financially trapped in a relationship, you should understand that you may be entitled to alimony in addition to a fair distribution of the marital property. Rehabilitative alimony provides funds from your spouse so can rejoin the workforce. Reimbursement alimony compensates you for supporting your spouse while he/she acquired an education or job skills. Permanent alimony provides regular payments – for a specific time or even for the rest of your life.
The spouse who has less parenting time is required to pay child support to help you raise your child – based on the income of both parents.
One important financial consideration that mitigates against staying in a marriage for financial reasons is if your spouse has debts. A divorce helps ensure that you won’t be liable for those debts.
Call us if you are feeling financially trapped in a marriage
At DeTorres & DeGeorge Family Law, our family lawyers understand the pros and cons of staying in a marriage for financial reasons. We’ll explain your rights and aggressively help your assert your rights. For many spouses, divorce is the healthier and more financially secure option to staying in a marriage for financial reasons. To discuss your divorce rights, call us at 908-691-2104 or use our contact form to make an appointment. We have offices in Clinton and Florham Park.