Four Tips on Merging Finances with Your New Spouse

Financial issues can have a major impact on the success of your marriage. Statistics reveal that one of the most common reasons couples cite as the cause of their divorce is conflict over money. If you’re planning a wedding, take this opportunity to discuss with your spouse how and to what extent you wish to merge your finances, and consider the following guidelines in the process.

Make all of your debts known: When you’re in the courtship stage of a relationship, you may feel tempted to present a good face to your potential partner and hide the aspects of your life that seem less desirable. Don’t let this extend to hiding your debts and financial liabilities from your future spouse. It is important that you determine how you wish to face these issues as a couple. Additionally, lying about your credit card, medical, or student debt could result in feelings of distrust.

Joint accounts can be used for specific purposes: In an era where most married couples consist of two working spouses, many couples are no longer completely merging their finances and operating from a single joint account. If you decide not to use joint accounts for all your money as a couple, there are certain advantages to using joint accounts for specific purposes. For example, some couples will use a joint account as a common location to deposit funds that will be used to pay bills. Others will create a savings account to which they can each contribute toward a large joint goal, such as a vacation or down payment on a home.

Consider the ways that a premarital agreement could help dispel tension: Premarital agreements have historically been viewed as a tool of the wealthy prior to marriage, but these contracts can provide peace of mind to couples from all levels of financial backgrounds. Creating a premarital agreement gives you and your spouse the chance to create a complete disclosure of the state of your finances, and will allow you and your partner to make clear that certain separate debts will not become marital, or ensure that your children from a prior relationship will not have their inheritance diminished as a result of your marriage.

Create a budget: No spouse wants every dollar of their spending to be closely monitored by a more frugal partner, but wanton spending can be stressful for the spouse who is more cautious about money. Consider creating a budget that outlines an agreed upon maximum of how much each spouse will spend on general categories, rather than having to seek approval for each purchase. This will allow freedom for spouses to spend as they see fit, while remaining within parameters that are affordable for that couple.

If you are planning to marry in South Carolina, discuss the potential benefits of creating a prenuptial agreement and contact the Spartanburg family law attorneys at The Cate Law Firm for a consultation, at 864-585-4226.

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