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DivorceProperty DivisionRich and Poor Equally Unhappy in Marriage?

October 19, 2007

Janet Langjahr in her Florida based divorce and family law blog, reports that money does not equate with happiness in marriage. Citing an article, The Rich and Unfaithful, in Forbes, she says that the wealthy are no happier in their marriages than the not as well off.

About half of wealthy people describe themselves as unhappy in their marriages, and just as many admit to cheating on their spouses in the last three years. (Interestingly, more women than men owned up to affairs.)Somewhat ironically, the excuse cited for unfaithfulness was desire for variety.

Although half of the affluent were unhappy in their marriages, just thirty percent were considering divorce…

It is not terribly surprising that the wealthy may be more divorce adverse. Quite simply, the exit costs may simply be too great. Assets acquired during the marriage have to be equitably distributed. Maintenance to keep a non working spouse in the marital lifestyle may be required to be paid.

A couple, living comfortably, with a million dollars in assets and a nice home with a mortgage could find themselves each with half as much in cash and looking for a new place to live.

There is an economy of scale in remaining in a marriage, even an unhappy one. The same income will not go as far if it must be split between two households. Rather than paying household expenses for a single home, a divorced couple must pay rent or mortgages on two homes, as well as all the other related housing expenses. In the end, there would be less discretionary or play money.

It may be purely economics that keep the wealthy in their unhappy marriages.

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