Many couples preparing to walk down the aisle in Illinois do so with the anticipation of staying united in matrimony indefinitely. Unfortunately, circumstances can change, and knots can be untied. According to one study, nearly 60 percent of couples surveyed believed financial issues were “somewhat” responsible for the end of their marriage. Approximately 20 percent of divorced respondents felt financial matters were a more of significant factor, and nearly 30 percent cited their spouse’s credit score as a source of marital stress.
It’s stats like these that have some relationship experts suggesting that partners begin discussing finances while still in the dating phase before marriage. Such efforts may include meeting with a certified financial planner or therapist before exchanging “I dos.”
While prenuptial agreements are on the rise among millennials, it’s still rare for most married individuals to have such documents. However, prenups can help protect certain assets and establish some guidelines that may minimize disagreements should a marriage end. Two parties preparing for life together may also benefit from an honest pre-marriage discussion about their existing financial well-being along with plans for their financial arrangements during a marriage, such as whether bank accounts will be jointly managed or separate.
Couples may be better off heading into a marriage if they also make an effort to set financial goals together. One suggested way to do this is for couples to have regular meetings specifically about their finances and joint goals before and during their marriage. Additionally, it’s recommended that spouses share passwords with one another even if accounts will be separate so that a partner can access funds easily in the event of an emergency.
Whether or not financial planning was done in advance, an attorney might be a valuable ally in the event of a divorce. If a prenup exists, a lawyer may review the document to ensure that terms are still fair and reasonable. If this documentation does not exist, an attorney may offer advice about asset distribution and arrangements for spousal and/or child support.