Lifestyle & Finances
There is a very practical side to getting married or committing to a new partnership. Chances are you now have assets (or debts), a developed career and various obligations. Many ‘first time arounders’ do not have to deal with these types of complexities.
Couples are often so much in love that they avoid bringing up some of the ‘elephant in the room’ type subjects and would rather deal with family finances later. Research has shown that putting everything on the table and agreeing what is mine, yours or shared up-front leads to greater trust and less arguments later.
Riches may enable us to confer favours, but to confer them with propriety and grace requires a something that riches cannot give.
Charles Caleb Colton, 1780-1832
It is quite likely that you will disagree in some areas; after all, you have had time to develop your own values, systems and strategies especially if you have been on your own for a while. The key is patience, understanding and a willingness to understand each other’s points of view.
Many couples find the vesica piscis (from sacred geometry) model the most beneficial to follow. This can be applied in all practical areas of joining lives, and is very simple to apply. Accepting this principle both respects your partner’s past and allows for different views to be accommodated , without getting into who is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’. It still supports the principle that ‘marriage’ is the joining of two people to live as one, without losing identity or creating resentment.
Don’t ever let anyone try to kid you that money doesn’t matter. At some point, it will raise itself. Money comes with a host of implications that touch every aspect of our lives mainly security, trust, options, independence and freedom.
It is important to discuss this crucial element of life openly and rationally. Discuss your respective attitudes to spending, your non-negotiable limits, where your family finances sit with together etc.
To completely balance your finances and remarriage, draw a financial road map for your life journey together that reflects your individual and joint goals. Determine if you need a prenuptial agreement or amendments to your will and estate planning.
Values dictate spending habits, so understand what is high on each of your lists. It’s important to know where the other is coming from or conflict will ensue.
Invest in creating a solid roadmap for your finances and remarriage. Share your hopes and fears and strive to understand your partner’s. Money matters are often a delicate topic but they don’t need to be. With a little communication, you’ll both be prepared for the bumps ahead.
Here is a simple checklist for couples as they merge their financial lives:
- Create a plan
- Know where your money goes
- Shop wisely
- Review your plan regularly
- Keep talking
The Legal Stuff
There are likely to be some areas of your ‘merger’ that have legal implications that is not limited on your name change after wedding, so always seek proper qualified legal knowledge as it is invaluable and can save you far more later.
A union that has not gone through a formal process (De facto or common law) has varying implications from country to country. Note that De facto status is not always portable between countries.
English Law prohibits a man from marrying his mother-in-law.
This is our idea of useless legislation.
Prenuptial agreements specify how assets will be distributed in the event of divorce or death. It is very much like travel insurance, better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it! Ensure a prenuptial agreement’s validity with professional guidance.
In a marriage where children are involved, legal issues may impact guardianship and inheritance. Further, seek legal advice before attempting to change custodial or child financial support arrangements.
File proper paperwork for your will or your partner may inherit what you intended for the children, or vice versa. With children on both sides, it is advisable to have two lawyers in this process.
Clarify the ownership of your home, other real estate, and insurance policies for both the duration of the marriage and once you die. Remember, if you plan to have a name change after the wedding, make sure you complete all the necessary legal documents.
Proper planning is essential to avoid family feuds on family finances. Once the nuts and bolts are taken care of, you can focus on the everyday – and each other.
Many new couples find it easier to settle into a new house together where no one has a previous history, so neither family feels either invaded or like newcomers on alien turf. If this is unachievable, make negotiation, compromise, teamwork, and advanced planning the order of the day.
Yours plus mine doesn’t necessarily equal ours when it comes to possessions. The equation won’t always work out because much comes from your previous lives.
Matrimony is a process by which a grocer acquires an account the florist had.
Develop a system for dealing with bills, paperwork, and managing clerical matters in the home. This must work for both of you without causing major frustrations.
Building family relationships and establishing strong grounds for family finances takes time. It can take years before everyone starts feeling like a family unit, and the transition is rarely smooth. Balancing community and privacy is achievable. As long as your actions are aligned with your intentions, you will have a family you love and are proud of.