Considering Children and Finances in Divorce Decision-Making

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Considering Children and Finances in Divorce Decision-Making

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Divorce is a well-research topic and has been widely discussed both empirically and anecdotally. However, there is little research that provides an in-depth evaluation of the process of making the decision to divorce; though this area of inquiry is growing recently. The existing literature makes it clear that deciding to divorce or stay in one’s marriage is confusing, frustrating, and rarely is there a clear path or decision. People in this situation often engaged in extended periods of time where they go back and forth considering their options. Two areas of common consideration in the divorce decision-making process are that of the impact of divorce on their children and their financial situation. The purpose of this study is to employ an inductive qualitative content analysis of 30 interviews (N=30) to gain further understanding of the divorce decision-making process and the role that children and finances (external entities to the marriage) play in that process. Key findings include that children and finances are not only reasons to stay in a marriage (barriers to divorce) but are also reasons people give for why they are interested in leaving the marriage. Also, further detail is reported on the way people consider children and finances in their divorce decision-making. Clinical implications of this work include that therapists should consider creating space for the ambiguous nature of divorce decision-making. Researchers could focus their efforts on furthering the understanding of children and finances in the divorce decision-making process and on teasing out the processes related to finances in families.


University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. July 2020. Major: Family Social Science. Advisor: Steven Harris. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 91 pages.

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Bell, Natasha. (2020). Considering Children and Finances in Divorce Decision-Making. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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