Whether it was a mutual decision or not, breakups are always difficult. It can happen to a couple who’s been together since childhood or to people who’ve met on a dating app. It can be unexpected and emotional. Unfortunately, it doesn’t just affect your emotions. In fact, research has shown that it can also affect your physical health.
The Cost of Breaking up: How It Affects Your Financial Health
A study by Rutgers University found that people felt physical pain when reminded of their former partners. It’s also common for people who’ve been through breakups to feel more stressed and to eat less.
Besides physical well-being, separations can also have an effect on your financial health. Whether you’re married or not, it will likely affect your budget and expenses one way or another. Here’s how:
i). For Married Couples
More than any other breakup, divorces are definitely the most complicated. You have to get lawyers involved, file important documents, and prepare your best arguments. It’s incredibly stressful to think of all the legal requirements on top of handling an emotional and delicate situation.
The messiest part is arguably the finances. If you didn’t have a prenuptial agreement, you have to split everything in half. You have to agree on who will get what. Besides the valuables, there’s also the matter of debt. Home mortgages typically aren’t transferable. That means both parties are legally required to pay their share of the loan if it’s a joint mortgage. The good news is that there is a way to get around this. You can refinance the loan and get the person who’s keeping the house so it would be in their name only.
ii). For People in Common Law Marriages
Contrary to popular belief, common-law marriages are not recognized everywhere. It’s only legally acknowledged in nine states. Plus, it also has certain requirements. Not all couples who’ve been together for a long time can be considered in a common-law marriage. Like actual marriages, you have to be of legal age, single, and not married to anyone else. Most of all, the intent has to be there. There has to be a paper trail proving that you consider yourselves married like joint accounts and shared legal properties.
With that said, breakups for this type of relationship are tricky. You have to be in a state that recognizes common-law marriages to have a legal right to shared properties. As for salaries and valuables, a party can’t lay any claim in most states. The only exception is if the money is in a joint bank account or if the property is put under both parties’ names.
iii). For Couples Who Live Together
No matter the length of your relationship, the dynamics change once you live together. It’s one thing to know someone through dates and trips together. But it’s completely different once you know how loud they snore and how little they clean after themselves.
As for financial matters, there’s typically no legal protection for properties. This means that if you separate, the property legally belongs to the person whose name is on the documents.
On the bright side, you can get a fairer distribution of valuables by going to a partition proceeding. This is the best option for couples who can’t agree on how they’ll split their belongings.
It can be expensive and time-consuming so be prepared to compromise and hear their side of the story.
iv). For the Rest
If your relationship doesn’t fall under the other categories, you probably have fewer legal matters to worry about. You won’t need lawyers or legal documents to prove your claims. But this doesn’t mean that splitting up won’t affect your finances.
One example is going on dates. A 2020 survey has found that Americans spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on dates per year. The biggest spenders are Gen X who drop more than $900 while Gen Z pays less than $400. Of course, it all depends on how you and your ex spend time together. If you preferred staying at home, you probably spent less.
It can also influence how much you spend on vacations and transportation. Solo travelers typically shell out more money since they have to pay for the hotel room themselves. Since you don’t split the cost of taxis anymore, you’ll also end up paying more.
When it comes to ending relationships, there are always benefits and drawbacks. A lot of times, it’s healthier and better for parties to separate. It’s the same when it comes to financial matters. You may have to jump through hoops but getting what you deserve, and need is worth it in the end.