Marriage isn’t just a romantic relationship; it is also a financial partnership.
Determining whether or not to combine finances when going into a marriage is just as weighty and possibly controversial a topic as whom to invite to your wedding, whose family to go to for a holiday, and when or even whether to have a baby.
The following is a short list of some of the important financial decisions to consider as you develop the fiscal contract portion of your marriage.
Have you been married before?
However old you are, you might be in a second marriage. Statistics indicate that one or both of many young couples have been in a “starter” marriage. If so, you might have ongoing financial commitments to a former spouse or child support payments – not to speak of pre-conceived ideas about sharing financial responsibilities and how to spend money.
Should you share a credit card and/or bank account?
I refer you to the answer in response to the first question. How well and how comfortable you are with one another’s spending habits should determine the answer. The more you share, the more possible areas of conflict.
Should you be co-signers on a mortgage?
Consider the impact of that decision: does one of you have a bad credit rating, are either of you unemployed, do you have very different income levels? All of the aforementioned situations would impact the availability or cost of the mortgage.
Do either of you work from home or is self-employed?
Consider the possibility of a lien placed on your home in response to contractor dissatisfaction or issues with the “stay at home” spouse’s business.
Although finances and relationships change and evolve, and certainly not everything can be anticipated, it is advisable to discuss a broad strokes approach to money matters. If one of you thinks it is advisable to spend 50% of your budget on shoes and the other partner thinks 50% of your combined income should be saved, you can anticipate conflict.
And in the future, if you have young children now or even no children at all, how do you and your spouse feel about paying for graduate school or adult children living at home and paying rent? The more you agree upon in advance the less conflict you will have later.
Hope this helps,
The Divorce Information NOW Team
Divorce Information NOW
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