When you enter into a new relationship, you display the best version of yourself—the rose-colored glasses are shiny and new. As the relationship progresses, perhaps you decide to move in together. It is at this point that a serious discussion needs to happen—one that people are afraid to have. What happens if and when those rose-colored glasses become fogged up, scratched, or broken, especially in regard to financial matters?
Once you’ve had a couple of good fights within a relationship over money, it teaches you to avoid the topic altogether. You fail to protect yourself until you decide that you’re going to either stay in the marriage and live in a way you don’t want to live, or get a divorce and now have several community assets to deal with.
I met recently with a friend who is planning her own divorce. She felt that she had failed to protect herself financially throughout the marriage, and now within the divorce as well, because she was so emotional about her situation. And she is a family law attorney—helping others go through this every day! This is an example of how important it is to involve another person to help you structure critical financial decisions.
I also had a meeting with a client who was widowed after more than 40 years of marriage. Even in the late 60s, traditional norms still didn’t encourage couples to verbalize disparate points of view. Women, even those in the workforce, were more likely not to make waves or believe that they could have a say in the financial aspects of the marriage. Now, after the death of her husband, she is finally arranging her kitchen and her house in a way that suits her!
We have reached a stage where it is acceptable to discuss different ways to handle finances rather than traditional norms of old. The law now provides protections for each party within all points of a relationship: There are “No-Nups” (covering the details of living together, before marriage), Prenups (covering aspects of marriage), and Postnups (when things aren’t going in the direction you want during marriage). You can click the links to read other articles which quote me; email me if you have any trouble with the links.
If you are currently in a relationship and those rose-colored glasses are on, consider taking them off for just a minute to think about how you’re going to protect yourself in the event that things go awry. To discuss which protection would be right for you, please email me.