Before couples in California get married, they may want to discuss their finances and their attitudes about money. Finances can be a source of significant strain in a marriage. In a 2017 study, Experian found that over 50 percent of couples said money issues were somewhat of a factor in their divorce while another 20 percent said finances were a significant issue. In addition, one-quarter of couples said the credit score of a spouse was a problem.
Prenuptial agreements are reportedly on the rise among millennials, but only a small percentage of couples have one. Prenups are not just about making contingency plans in case of divorce. They also provide the opportunity for couples to have honest conversations about money. With or without a prenup, this type of conversation is necessary. Couples need to be upfront with one another about debt, credit scores and any child or spousal support obligations from a previous marriage.
Couples should also decide ahead of time what their financial system should be. This includes whether they will have shared or separate bank accounts and what kind of budgeting tool to use. They should also talk about their financial goals. In case of sudden incapacity or death, each person should have passwords and access to the other’s accounts.
Finances are also generally an issue during the divorce process itself. If the two have not been transparent with one another about assets, spending and debt, this usually comes to light during the divorce although some people may attempt to conceal assets. Spouses who suspect the other of hiding assets may want to talk to their attorney. If there is no prenuptial agreement, the couple will either need to make an agreement about how to divide property, or agree to allow a judge to decide their case.