Marjorie JamesMy mother was famous for sayings that we called “Momilies.” One that we heard over and over again, usually when a family friend was getting a divorce, was, “When poverty comes through the door, love flies out the window.” Well, some research has shown that this particular pithy saying may well be true.

A recent survey of Certified Divorce Financial Analysts (CDFA’s), professionals who assist people in making wise financial decisions during divorce, revealed that the leading cause of divorce was “basic incompatibility” at 43%. Infidelity (28%) and money issues (22%) followed. These are all intertwined because, as one of the CDFA’s noted, “Many couples lack the communication skills to navigate financial disagreements in their marriage.” Money is equated with safety and security, so “financial disagreements are more salient than other disagreements.”

I have read about other surveys that confirm this finding, so I guess my mother was right! However, I sense that the “real” issue is communication. If a couple has certain important aspects of life that they don’t discuss, like money, “basic incompatibility” becomes the issue. Both have opinions and closely-held beliefs that can be glossed over for a time, but at some point, usually during a crisis, conflicting beliefs will be expressed and argued about.

What many couples need is communication counseling! One of the members of a Collaborative divorce team is typically a family counselor or therapist to help with communication during the Collaboration process. I listened to one of these professionals speak about this very issue. (Sorry, I don’t remember who it was.) He stated that many of his couples are amazed at the level of discourse they are able to achieve during sessions, expressed with comment like, “I didn’t know she felt that way.” “We’ve never talked about this before.” “I wish we had known how to talk to each other before all of this.” He even had one couple who, after three or four sessions, decided not to get a divorce because of what they had learned about each other and what they now knew about the importance of good communication. That rarely happens, he said, but it underscores the need for effective conversation skills.

There is much information about communication in this article, “Survey: Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA) Professionals Reveal the Leading Causes of Divorce“, published in August. I will keep this article and refer to it because there are some powerful statements to discuss.

“Momilies” are a part of every child’s life, I suspect. May they be wise!

Copyright 2013. Marjorie E. James. All rights reserved.