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I just read a piece by a couple's financial advisor who wrote about the psychological and economic impact of divorce. After listing reasons why divorce is so expensive, emotionally and financially, he advised couples to "avoid divorce at all costs." I don't agree.

This suggestion may have merit in some splits, but not in all cases. Married people agree that marriages and relationships change, precluding the bliss of courtship days. He believes that problem marriages can survive with dedicated effort and good counseling. Perhaps some marriages can be saved but say you're married to a drug or alcohol abuser, those tendencies may never be changed. Anger management classes can improve physically abusive behavior, but in some cases women and children must escape that environment.

Couples that see divorce as their best recourse will realize that the cost of the procedure almost matches the emotional anguish. Why does divorce cost so much?

Marriage is an economic partnership which requires complicated steps to undo. Two households must be maintained along with the attendant household expenses. Attorneys fees, appraisals, if there is real estate, the splitting of investments and court costs add up. An assessment of the income and earning capacities of each party must be made. Child support, day care, health and educational expenses must be allocated to each party. Neither party walks away unscathed.

The sad thing is that divorce leaves women and their children more economically disadvantaged than men. No matter how you slice the pie, I have found that women and children usually end up with the smallest slice. Women and children can be extremely economically dependent upon men.

Saving a marriage is one route and divorce may be the ultimate step, regardless of economic consequences. What do you think?

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