The classic joke is “What is the biggest cause of divorce? Marriage!” However, in my experience as a mediator more divorces are caused by fights over finances than fights over infidelity. With this in mind an article by Rachel Louise Ensign entitled “I Do – Now Hands of My Checkbook” in The Wall Street Journal Sunday section of the Arizona Daily Star caught my eye. See the entire article at http://tiny.cc/cdm0125 I have always been interested in how married couples handle their finances. Some couples have all joint accounts. We do and have handled the entry problem by having two check books for one account. It resolves the problem of one checkbook and one spouse constantly forgetting to enter items. Many couples have separate accounts and divide up who pays what bills. Ensign cites a statistic that 31% of individuals who are married have separate checking accounts. She also some parental wisdom which states that the secret to a happy marriage is separate checkbooks. Ensign suggests some things for couples to consider.
1. How are you going to split shared expenses?
2. What do your portfolios look like together?
3. What about assets such as property and businesses?
4. What would happen if one of you died?
5. Do you need a postnup?
Of course with the more and more people using credit cards and debit cards this may not be as important anymore or maybe there are just new problems!
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