Money is a sensitive topic, whether you’re single, dating, or married. But when you’re married, finances can make or break the relationship. According to top divorce lawyers, almost 40 percent of couples reported financial problems as a reason for their divorce. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that family law attorneys recommend couples have separate accounts instead of a single joint account. Here are some reasons that they recommend spouses to have separate accounts:
A common habit among couples is that one spouse manages the finances while the other sits back and lets them do it. This includes budgeting for home renovations, everyday expenses, or yearly vacations.
While it seems like an efficient way to do things when one spouse is more financially savvy than the other, it can lead to issues down the line. Specifically in the event of a divorce or if the financially savvy spouse is incapacitated.
Managing finances as an adult can be difficult when you’ve never opened a savings account or written a check. By having separate bank accounts, you have reason to stay on top of your finances and manage your money.
For some couples, pooling finances together may make them feel trapped in the relationship. This makes it difficult to think about a divorce when the relationship turns sour. If you want to maintain a sense of autonomy and don’t want finances to be the only thing holding you together, keeping your money in a separate account can help.
When you and your spouse spend money differently, it can be difficult to see eye-to-eye on every purchase. As a result, there may be times when you argue why your shared funds went towards a purchase that wasn’t needed. All this nitpicking can lead to resentment and fuel further disagreements. Keeping separate accounts is an effective way for spouses to prevent hostility and stay happy.
Not everyone gets married early on in their adult life. Americans are waiting a longer time before getting married. And as the cost of education and other purchases increase, it’s becoming more likely for spouses to enter marriage with debts than without. Whether you’re making student loan payments or paying child support from a previous marriage, these debts are your financial responsibilities.
Even if you don’t want your spouse to pay for your debts, having a joint account could lead to creditors garnishing your spouse’s income. This, in turn, could affect their credit score. And that’s not something that they’d be happy about if they spent a long time building up their credit to apply for a mortgage. In this situation, having separate accounts is a great way to avoid the situation altogether.
If you’ve just started living together after getting married, divorce isn’t a pleasant thing to think about. However, having separate accounts can protect you from situations when your partner drains the account without telling you. In the event that things turn sour, having an account gives you access to cash flow for you and your child’s expenses instead of getting a court order demanding your spouse to release funds. It also makes asset division a simpler endeavor without major hurdles.
With separate accounts, you and your spouse can each build your credit scores, which is important for various reasons. When you don’t have an individual account, then it’s likely that the bills will be in your spouse’s name.
Consequently, you don’t build any credit over the course of your marriage. And in the event of a divorce or if your spouse passes away, you won’t have any history of making major purchases. And even if you stay together, each spouse having a high credit score means better borrowing opportunities.
It’s rare for married partners to have the same financial goals. Even if both of you have to agree on major expenses like buying a new car or going somewhere on vacation, there may be some goals that feel personal. This can include buying a new game console or designer handbag. By keeping a separate account, you save up for these goals without feeling guilty.
Perhaps the most important advantage of keeping a separate account is that the money you saved up before getting married will stay yours. Nowadays, people are accumulating some wealth before getting married, whether it’s an inheritance or savings.
It’s quite possible that you don’t want to share this money with your spouse. Not to mention, putting it in a shared account means that your spouse will be entitled to a share if you get divorced. Having a separate account for pre-marital savings helps you keep money aside for other goals.
Here are some of the most common questions couples ask about separate accounts.
You can separate your money by having an individual account and keeping a shared account for joint expenses.
If your husband opened separate bank accounts for individual and shared expenses, it shouldn’t be a dealbreaker. People usually worry about their spouses opening individual accounts when they have underlying concerns. Talk to your partner about these financial worries and ask how they plan to contribute toward shared expenses. As a married couple, talking about sensitive topics like money is a great way to increase intimacy and build trust.
Yes, it’s encouraged for married with separate bank accounts to keep their individual account even after they get married to keep the money for their personal expenses and financial goals. If you want to pool money for joint expenses like groceries and utility bills, you and your spouse can open a shared account.