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Financial Fights That Can Lead to Divorce

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Divorce is a lagging indicator.

Divorce filings have dropped or remained the same in most states during the economic downturn that took hold from 2006 to 2008, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. In some states -- New York, Connecticut and Massachusetts - divorce filings fell by at least a third.

Much has been written about how tough economic times have forced couples to postpone divorces. They just can't afford it. Legal costs and accountant fees grow as a union dissolves and a two-income household lives cheaper than a two-household pair of singles.

As the economy improves, we will probably see divorce rates creep up. But even if money woes are keeping couples together, financial disputes remain the root cause of irreconcilable differences.

Here are seven common financial issues that can lead to divorce:

Paycheck envy: More women are entering marriage with assets of their own and many are earning more than their spouses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one in three married women out-earns her husband. That amount expands to more than half if they earn $55,000 or more.

Men can feel threatened by not having their traditional bragging rights as breadwinners. For women, it means they have their own money to protect from the irresponsible actions of a mate. With more at-stake, women can't afford to be deferential to their mate the way past generations were.

Debt: Utah State University professor Jeffrey Dew authored a widely cited study that concluded that couples who argue about finances at least once a week are 30% more likely to divorce than those who only vent occasionally about money issues. Couples with no assets were 70% more likely to divorce compared to couples with assets of $10,000.

Cutting into the ability to build assets is America's longstanding addiction to credit cards, but there may be cause for optimism. Having amassed a record-setting $988 billion in revolving debt in 2008, Americans chipped away at nearly $90 billion of it last year, according to the Federal Reserve. Fewer credit cards and less debt should mean increased savings, more assets and potentially happier couples.

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