Is mounting credit card debt driving you and your spouse to divorce?

It’s the newest form of marital infidelity and it’s destroying marriages like nobody’s business – the amassing of credit card debt behind the spouse’s back.
One of the most crushing consequences of the Great Recession of 2008 is that as joblessness continues to plague families people start to lean more heavily on their credit cards. This fact has begun to take a toll on the strength of the nation’s marriages. While at first blush many marriages seem more firmly glued together as a sort of solidarity and buffer against economic uncertainty, for many, that is only temporary, a delayed reaction if you may.
As the recession continues to wage on and more individuals lean on their credit cards for survival (and entertainment too), the marital relationship becomes increasingly strained as a result- especially due to this sense that one spouse may have that the other is committing financial infidelity by maxing out credit cards behind their backs.
It appears that the problem with credit card over-spending is not so much the spending itself but that many individuals are spending and maxing out these cards behind their spouse’s backs; and obviously this leads to conversations with divorce attorneys.
According to Professor Jeffrey Dew of Utah State University, writing for the Marriage Project at Virginia State University,¬† “credit card debt and financial conflict is so corrosive to marriages that it is a top predictor of divorce.”
What is the solution? Well, don’t max out credit cards behind your spouse’s back. Sure the recession is rough and you need to shop for necessities and the occasional latte. But in times like these it is even more important to have honest discussions with your spouse about money. Both parties need to know they can trust the other to act responsibly with cash credit at this time, precisely because of the uncertainty that the recession brings.
There is a little bit of good news. According to Moody’s and the Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”) the economy is improving and job growth is the best it’s been since 2008. So if you can hang on to your marriage just a bit longer, and stop using that credit card behind your spouse’s back, you may even find that your financial picture improves before 2010 is done and there’s no need to lean on to the credit cards as much as you have been.[GSMITHBOOK]
Update: Public Citizen Consumer Law and Policy Blog just reminded me that the Credit Card Act goes into effect on 2.22.10. Check out their post on what you can expect with that here.
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