When I speak with couples who are separating, more often than not, money is cited as the heart of their marital problems.
After the holidays, families are often under a lot of financial pressure and it all adds up.
It should come as no surprise then that a recent survey found that the majority of Australian households admit they don’t have a budget. I’m afraid this type of ad hoc approach to family finances could be creating unnecessary pressures on relationships.
The research, conducted by Slater and Gordon, also revealed that just over one quarter of respondents shared bank accounts with their partner, or revealed their financial situation before they committed to a marriage or de facto relationship.
In my experience as a family lawyer, the failure to share financial information early on is likely to contribute to feelings of financial insecurity and can strike at the core of many terminal relationships.
However, having a rough idea of your partner’s spending habits before tying the knot simply isn’t enough to ensure a trouble-free future.
Couples should be open with each other about their individual financial situation as early as possible in the relationship.
Some people may decide that a prenuptial or financial agreement works best for them, particularly when one person has more property and assets, or may become entitled to an inheritance or gift down the track.
Getting on the same financial page from the start can help avoid difficulties and disagreements down the track.