No one heads into a marriage preparing for a divorce. However, a significant number of marriages end in divorce and no small amount of them because of money. Being conscious of you and your spouse’s finances can not only help you avoid marriage troubles, it can also help both of you handle the financial repercussions of divorce, if that is where the road leads you.
Marital Money Tips
If you are getting married, newly married or you and your spouse are contemplating a divorce due to money issues, consider trying these tactics to more effectively and fairly manage your finances before heading to court:
Communicate about money
Gone are the days when one spouse can handle all of the marital finances and leaves the other in the dark. No matter who works, who contributes the most income, or who pays the bills each month, both spouses need to be aware of how much money comes in, how much goes out, and where the remainder goes.
Write down your goals
Everyone views money a little differently. However, when it comes to marriage, you need to agree on your overall financial strategy. A great way to do this is to discuss your short- and long-term goals and write them down. For instance, a short term goal may be to save for a vacation to Disney World next year. A long-term goal may be save up the down payment for a house, pay off student loan debt within 10 or 15 years, or retirement.
Create a budget
Individuals and couples often make the mistake of not creating a budget. This can lead people to not realize how much they are spending and how slowly they will reach their savings goals. A budget helps individuals appreciate how much money they earn, see where they tend to spend money, where they need to reign in their spending, and how well they are saving.
Consider your bank accounts
Take a look at how you handle your bank accounts and ask yourself if it truly works for the family. If the system you have now causes problems, consider rearranging. For instance, if you have a joint account yet one spouse over-spends, consider moving to separate accounts with a joint account only for household expenses. You and your spouse can agree to put the same amount or percentage of your monthly wages into the joint account to cover the mortgage and utilities, yet limit each of your personal spending to your own wages.
Tackle debt as a team
Credit card debt troubles many marriages, yet it does not have to. If either of you entered the marriage with a significant amount of debt or have acquired it during the marriage, sit down and come up with a plan as to how you will avoid taking on any more debt and paying down what you have.
Work with a financial advisor
It can be difficult to see how your income is best put to use, particularly when it seems like you are doing everything you can do save. If you and your spouse are having trouble meeting your savings goals or find yourself disagreeing about money, consider working with an objective financial advisor.
Managing Your Finances During a Divorce
If you and your spouse decide to separate and file for divorce, you will need to discuss how the marital finances will be handled prior to the divorce being finalized. This is particularly important if you and your spouse will no longer be living together, yet will have access to each other’s finances through joint accounts and co-owned assets. Some key issues that need to be addressed when getting a divorce are:
- Avoidance of over-spending
- Avoidance of incurring additional debt
- The maintenance and upkeep of marital property like the family home
- Ensuring marital property is not disposed of in anyway without agreement between the spouses
If you are worried about how your husband or wife will spend money or handle assets during your divorce, speak with an experienced Chicago divorce lawyer as soon as possible.
Do You Need Legal Advice?
If you are facing financial trouble in your divorce, contact me at (312) 621-5234. I can help you separate your finances from your spouse’s during the divorce and work for you to receive your equitable share of the marital estate.