The time leading up to your wedding should be all kittens and roses, if a little stressful. So financially future-proofing your marriage before it’s even begun might not seem like the most romantic of proposals.
The stats suggest divorce rates are falling in the UK, but the Institute for Family Studies still projects that 35% of people getting married today will end up getting divorced. So it makes sense to remove as many stressors as possible before you head off down the aisle. It’s time to financially future-proof your marriage.
Let’s face it, you wouldn’t enter into any other form of contract that would affect your financial position without poring over the Ts and Cs. (Think about mobile phones and insurance.) So why should cohabitation and marriage be any different?
To avoid or limit financial problems after the event, you must take personal responsibility for your financial life from day one.
Think about it: you don’t delegate responsibility for your physical and mental health to anyone else, even if they’re your partner in life. After all, doctors can’t fix everything, and neither can family lawyers.
Equality and transparency
Think about the best marriages that you know. They’re true and lasting partnerships built on equality and transparency. But when one partner feels they’re running the family finances alone, resentment can creep in.
Even worse, one partner can feel the other isn’t being honest and open about finances. None of this happens overnight. Life gets in the way despite our best intentions.
Even the most successful and driven people can end up asking themselves how they got into such a financial mess. If you’re cohabiting, about to get married or are newly-wed, ask yourself if you know:
- The value of your personal and joint assets
- Where your assets are and how you can access them
- The extent of your liabilities and how to meet them
- How to access bank statements, investment portfolios and pension information, especially if you don’t know what your name is on and you have to ask your ex-partner for account numbers and passwords
- Whose name is on the bills for the household utilities.
You’d be surprised how few couples can struggle to answer these basic questions. Then one day, after the relationship has broken down, they’re forced to find the answers for the divorce lawyer.
Why does this happen? The reasons vary, but common trends and themes emerge. An honest conversation with yourself is vital at the outset to avoid the pitfalls.
Maybe you’re that person who finds financial matters boring and confusing. Maybe you couldn’t wait to abdicate all responsibility for such mundane stuff to your partner? Be honest now.
Did you let things slide when your job got really busy or the kids came along? Or did you believe that your partner is ‘just better at that stuff than I am’?
Is your partner secretive? Maybe you’re scared of the possible confrontation that questions and challenges over finances might provoke?
It’s only when you answer questions honestly that you can identify skills, knowledge or communication issues that stop you dealing with problems before they arise. As with health matters, help and advice is available to help you take charge of your financial life.
For an initial FREE consultation on any aspect of family law, call Manders Law on 01245 895 105 or email us here.