7 Financial Myths about Marriage That May Cost You Dearly ...

By Alison

Do you believe any of the financial myths about marriage? If you do, it could be an expensive mistake. It's essential to keep a level head about financial matters when you get married, and not let your common sense be clouded by romance. Here are some of the financial myths about marriage you shouldn't believe …

1 Taken Care of

One of the myths about marriage that's still believed is that you'll be taken care of if the marriage breaks up. You may well have legal rights, but enforcing them can be a difficult matter; people have ways of concealing their financial assets and getting round the requirements of the law. So never assume that you'll get your fair share if you divorce - there may be nothing to divide anyway. Also, it's far from certain that you will get alimony.

2 50-50

A neat 50-50 split? Not necessarily. Courts will take a number of factors into account. You should also not assume that you will get more if your partner is unfaithful. Financial settlements are not about penalizing someone because they are 'at fault,' but about dividing assets fairly.

3 Joint Accounts

Naturally you want to trust your partner implicitly. But you shouldn't let that rule your head completely; you still have to protect your own interests. Even if you have a joint account for essential bills, you should still retain your own account and keep sufficient funds in it. If all your money is in joint accounts, what is to stop your partner withdrawing or transferring it to an account you can't access?

4 Walk Away

You should never assume that you can just walk away from financial responsibility. If you have a joint mortgage or tenancy, you will still be liable even if you leave the marital home. You could also be pursued for debts in both your names should your partner refuse to pay them.

5 Inheritance

If you inherit money from a relative, you will be entitled to keep all of it if you get divorced, right? Wrong. Any money you inherit or win while you are still legally married - even if you are living separately - will most likely be viewed as a joint asset and will therefore be divided.

6 Women Keep the Home

Don't assume either that you will keep the marital home should you divorce, just because you have children. You may be able to keep it until the kids are grown up, but it could also need to be sold. Or you may get the home in lieu of child support. But the days are gone when women automatically kept the home because they were bringing up the children - and if it has to be sold when they turn 18, you'll have to find a new place to live.

7 You Keep Your Own Property

Some couples take the view that 'what's yours is yours, and what's mine is mine.' Again, you can't assume that this will happen. People change their mind about prior agreements, and the courts may view all assets as joint assets, regardless of when they were acquired.

It's vital to be aware of your legal rights and obligations when you get married. Otherwise you could find yourself wiser but very much poorer. Always look out for your own financial interests - it's the sensible thing to do. What is the worst financial mistake you've made, and what did you learn from it?

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