Money is one of the most hotly contested issues between married couples. When the use of joint income is at stake, tempers can flare and unkind words can pass between otherwise loving partners. Chances are that you and your significant other were raised to navigate income, assets, and debt in different ways. If you do not arrive at clear expectations for how you will approach joint income and debt in your marriage, you may be setting yourself up for some serious disagreements and unhappiness down the road.
Increasingly, American couples are turning to prenuptial agreements to define the scope of their monetary expectations before marriage. Years ago, a stigma existed that only couples anticipating divorce entered into prenuptial agreements. This is simply no longer the case. Rather, engaged couples use prenuptial agreements to essentially prevent divorce by working through their differences in anticipation of their nuptials. Similarly, married couples are using postnuptial agreements to work out their differences and set expectations after they have tied the knot.
This proactive approach allows many couples of differing financial expectations to avoid the kinds of in-fighting that can ultimately lead to divorce. It can also allow the “spender” spouse and the “saver” spouse to come together in healthy and balanced ways, for example.
Money is a hot-button issue, but it need not be. In fact, spending joint income, prioritizing joint debt, and saving for the future can actually be sources of strength for couples when they approach these issues in the right way. Depending on the circumstance, a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may help you achieve just that.
Source: USA Today, “A marriage of financial opposites can work,” Nancy Holt, Dec. 9, 2012