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Financial planning before marriage

Many married couples in Virginia realize too late that they are financially incompatible. Couples often walk down the aisle having never discussed their finances or created a prenuptial agreement to specify who owns what. Later on, spouses with completely different views on spending, saving and investing could have a lot of conflict.

One thing that can have a significant impact on marital finances is debt. If a person has a lot of student loan debt, for example, it is important for them to tell their future spouse how much they owe before they get married. Not only will one spouse's debt affect a married couple's monthly budget, combining two incomes could affect one spouse's eligibility for an income-based repayment plan.

Financial advisers often tell engaged couples and newlyweds to keep their personal bank accounts and open up a joint bank account that is designated to cover household expenses. The couple can then decide how much money each of them will contribute to the joint bank account each month and set up direct deposits. Financial advisers also tell married couples to get joint credit cards, which can help boost their credit scores.

When a couple goes through a divorce, all of their marital property, including joint bank accounts and joint credit accounts, must be divided. If the couple had separate assets and debts before they were married, these accounts may remain separate after a divorce as long as they were not mingled with the marital accounts. An attorney may be able to represent a divorcing spouse during property division negotiations and help them to assert their ownership of personal property and enforce a prenuptial agreement.

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