Divorce can be a sensitive topic – and finances are always a sensitive topic. Today we will tackle both. First, I want to be clear that I don’t recommend going into a marriage planning for a divorce… When you get married it is supposed to be forever, for better or for worse. For many reasons, that doesn’t always happen though. Marriage can be tough – just like life itself sometimes. You don’t stay married without work and some struggles. We have been married for 29 years this year!
Having said all that – there is always a possibility that your marriage could end in divorce. I work in a business with payroll and so often I hear employees say they have no idea about their pay when asked anything about their check. They say oh my husband handles all that and I have no idea. What? I find that entire concept incredibly foreign. I know my husband and I do not handle our finances at all like my parents and his parents did. Back then my father thought it was absolutely a man’s role to be in charge of the money. And it wasn’t because my mother was a stay at home mom – because she wasn’t. She was a career woman. It was just the way they thought it had to be.
I distinctly remember when my husband and I got married – my father asked about our plans for finances and I told him. He literally laughed and said – good luck with that. Well, 29 years later…
- Both spouses always need to have access to money they can call their own. For example – my husband has access to some money in case he needs it. I am not talking about thousands of dollars but a couple hundred is a really good idea. Both of us have multiple bank accounts and investment vehicles. We have some together and some separate. Don’t get me wrong if I express a really strong need for some of the money my husband has, I am more than welcome to it. But we try not to bother each other’s money in those other accounts because we know it is there if we need it – either of us.
- Don’t ever put your spouse on an allowance only budget. If your finances are extremely tight and you both only allow yourself $20 in spending money per week that is one thing. But any financial “rules” should be mutually agreed upon and mutually enforced.
- It doesn’t matter who in the relationship makes more money – always remember you are both equally important. There have been years where I have made more and years where my husband has made more. Neither of us really care who makes more as long as we can pay the bills and we are both being responsible and productive. A stay at home mom is responsible and productive!
- Support each other with self improvement. I picked up the slack when my husband went to school and he picked up the slack when I went to school. Self improvement can be a huge drain on finances and time but most often the experience will be beneficial in the long term.
- Keep cash available. Cash is king! I think we as a society lose sight of that with debit cards, apple pay etc… At one point I was saving cash quietly so we could go on a trip. The stash became large enough that I felt the need to alert my husband. I was concerned he would stumble upon it and think I was saving for a divorce… Nope just a trip for all of us to Disney World…
In summary, when you get married do not abdicate all financial responsibilities and benefits to your spouse. That may seem convenient at the time to not have to worry about it but if something were to happen – such as divorce – you can’t be left with nothing and not having a clue how to carry on. Quinn & Lynch, P.A. specialize in divorce and I am sure they have seen many financial struggles as a result of divorce. Protect yourself and each other by sharing in financial responsibilities.