Being a financial partner with your spouse may not save your marriage, but it could better prepare you to handle a divorce and rebound more quickly, according to a report by Fidelity Investments, which examines the financial and emotional wellbeing of Americans who have gone through a divorce.

The "Divorce and Money" report polled 1,107 Americans, ages 25 to 75, who had divorced within the past six months to 10 years. It found that nearly half (46%) wish they had been more involved with finances during the marriage.

What’s more, the report noted that respondents said the emotional aspects felt most difficult to deal with up-front. Specifically, 56% identified the emotional aspects as “very stressful” at the beginning, versus 43% who said the same about the financial aspects.

But once the divorce decree was signed, financial stress became greater and longer lasting—with 35% of respondents saying they have yet to fully financially recover five years post-divorce.

The report found that gender played a role in how financial stress plays out during divorce. For women, financial stress began to exceed emotional stress shortly after the divorce was finalized. It pointed out that 72% of women felt relieved from emotional stress while 63% felt recovered from the financial stress five years after the divorce.

On the other hand, 77% of men indicated they felt recovered from the emotional stress five years after the divorce, while 66% felt relieved from the financial stress.

The report found that most divorced people reported having been involved in the day-to-day finances during their marriage (83% men and 85% women), but participation rates regarding long-term and retirement investing weren't as high (at least for women,) with 82% of men being involved versus only 60% of women.

“It’s far more difficult to recover if you’ve allowed your partner to have complete control over the finances throughout married life—and that there are definite advantages to being completely engaged in all aspects of the finances,” the report noted. 

Among the report's findings:

• Nearly half (46%) said they were surprised how hard the divorce process was emotionally, and for those with children it was slightly higher (47%). Also, more than half of the respondents (56%) indicated that the smaller, less important details were sometimes harder to work out than the bigger things.

• When queried on the hardest things to deal with emotionally, 39% chose deciding on who was going to get the pets, 40% picked working out alimony, and 58% said childcare responsibilities.

• The report warns against the temptation to “wing it” during the divorce process. It noted that those who winged it found the financial recovery period takes longer. It also found that fewer people who used a road map reported being in worse financial shape than before.

• Two-thirds of respondents who have since remarried said divorce affected how they think about finances in their marriage. Sixty percent are more involved in managing day-to-day finances, 38% have more financial independence, and 35% are more involved in managing investments and savings. 

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