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Should you combine your finances, or separate them? Different strategies work for different couples. However, it’s always a good idea to be completely informed before making a decision.  So here are five myths about combined and separate finances. 

“Separate Finances Will Protect You in a Divorce.” 

Separate finances will not protect you in a divorce. Generally speaking, everything you purchase with funds earned after the wedding is considered to be marital property, and the money you earn and save after the marriage is also considered to be marital property. Even if your finances are completely separate, and your spouse isn’t on any of your accounts, your spouse could still have a claim to some of the money in your accounts if a divorce were to occur. Furthermore, married couples are generally can be responsible for any debt accumulated during the marriage. So if your spouse racks up thousands on a credit card that isn’t in your name, there’s a possibility that you could be be at least partially responsible for those charges in the event of a divorce. 

“Combined Finances Means You Can’t Leave the Marriage.” 

Again, at any time during the marriage, you have the freedom to open a checking account without your spouse’s knowledge and begin forwarding your checks into that account. You can also open credit cards, get a P.O. box (you can pay cash for a P.O. box), and more, without your spouse knowing. It’s shockingly easy to withdrawal cash from an ATM, or have small amounts of your paycheck sent to a different account. The thing that actually makes leaving a marriage difficult is when one party does not have a job, nor do they have work-experience or education. In cases like this, it’s much more difficult for a person to take the leaving or to initiate a divorce because they’re financially dependent on their spouse. This is why it’s so important for people to have an education, even if they want to stay home and raise the children while their spouse works. Remember, education doesn’t need to mean college. Getting certifications, or learning a trade can also put you in a position to get a job if you ever need to. 

“Combined Finances Will Prevent Infidelity.” 

With the availability of technology, cheating has never been easier to do and more difficult to spot. While combined finances would definitely make it more difficult to hide infidelity, those who are determined enough to carry on a double life will likely find a way to do so anyway. A lot of people who have combined finances do so as a demonstration of unity and trust. You should not be combining finances just so that you can monitor your spouse’s every move. If you’re going through your spouse’s charges to ensure their fidelity, that may be a sign that there are other issues in the relationship. 

“What My Spouse Does with Their Money Isn’t My Business.” 

Well, arguably, it should be given that you’re likely on the hook for the majority of the financial decisions that they make—even ones that they make behind your back. While you don’t need to know about every cent they spend, you should at least a finger to the pulse regarding your spouse’s finances. Again, if your spouse is living above their means, you could be on the hook for their bad decisions. Depending on where you’re located, collectors may be able to go after you in the event that they decide they can’t collect from your spouse—even if your finances are separate. This doesn’t mean that you should aggressively monitor your spouse’s finances and immediately combine your finances—or else. But it does mean that you should have at least some idea what your spouse is doing with their money if your finances aren’t combined. 

“Separate Finances Are Good if You’re Not on the Same Page Financially.” 

Again, because you and your spouse are legally tied together, you could be responsible for the outcome of an act of financial recklessness your spouse carries out. Since separate finances won’t do much to protect you from a financially irresponsible spouse, the smarter thing to do is to wait on getting married until you’re on the same page with finances. If you’re already married, and you cannot get on the same page with finances, it may be time to seek counselling. If you have a spouse who is continuously pushing your family into financial problems, you may need to get a postnuptial agreement in order to protect yourself from their decisions. In a case like this, it may be necessary to separate your finances so that you can ensure that the bills get paid. 

When You’re Considering Divorce 

If you’re considering divorce, CoilLaw is here for you. Contact us today to get started on your initial consultation. 



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