Four Guidelines on Merging Your Finances with a New Spouse
If you’re planning a wedding, you may have a number of questions about how life with your new spouse will look. In this day and age, couples no longer have to follow a cookie-cutter plan of merging all aspects of their finances, and can instead design the arrangement that works best for them. Discerning what that arrangement should be, and ultimately merging the aspects of your household that you wish to merge, can be a challenge. Below are some tips on successfully combining your financial life with your partner.
- Create a budget to avoid conflict. The act of creating a budget can reduce the chances that you and your spouse end up fighting over money. First of all, it will offer you a chance to learn about your spouse’s priorities when it comes to spending and saving, and their approach to paying down debts. Second, creating a budget can offer you an opportunity to agree on what sort of personal spending each spouse can do without first seeking the other spouse’s consent. Many couples have found that setting a price point, above which the spouses have to consult one another, allows a couple to feel both independent and accountable to their spouse.
- Create a bill-paying account. While many couples are choosing not to give up their separate bank accounts, it can be helpful to create one account from which payments are made toward bills and household expenses that you and your spouse share. Each spouse deposits the amount they owe toward these bills into that account, and bill payments are either automatically or manually withdrawn from the account. Couples can also create joint savings accounts for large purchases or an emergency fund to which each spouse contributes.
- Divide household expenses based on earnings. Few couples earn the exact same amount, and may have outside financial responsibilities such as child support or alimony to pay. Rather than dividing expenses evenly, it may be more fair to classify which expenses should be allocated to only one spouse and which should be the responsibility of the couple, and to divide the shared expenses proportionally based on income.
- Consider a premarital agreement. Premarital agreements aren’t only for the super-rich. Creating a prenup before you get married offers you a chance to learn in detail about all your future spouse’s debts and assets, and can afford you peace of mind knowing that you will not become responsible for those debts if you split, and that divorce will not cause you to lose meaningful personal possessions or become destitute.
If you are planning to be married in New Jersey and would like to discuss the potential benefits of a prenuptial agreement with a lawyer, contact the experienced and skilled Edgewater and Moonachie family law attorneys at Herbert & Weiss for a consultation, at 201-440-6300.