Does Marriage Mean Spouses Should Open Joint Accounts or Keep them Separate?

Does Marriage Mean Spouses Should Open Joint Accounts or Keep them Separate?

When deciding what your future will be like with your soon-to-be spouse, there are several considerations that come to mind. Where will we live? Will I change my name? Will my spouse change his/her name? Do we want kids? These questions always spring to mind, but rarely do the unromantic, financial concerns ever break the surface. One of the considerations that has become more mainstream when deciding to marry asks whether spouses should have joint bank accounts, separate accounts, or joint and separate bank accounts.

The Statistics on Deciding to Keep Your Own Bank Account

It was estimated in a TD Bank survey of over 1,000 married and cohabiting pairs that a minority of those couples (about 42 percent) maintained their own separate bank accounts. The majority, 48 percent, however, closed their bank accounts and joined with their partner. Many of the women who had maintained their own separate accounts cited independence as their main priority for continuing a separate bank account.

The Newest Trend: Separate Bank Accounts that Feed Into a Joint Account

The newest trend that has moved alongside a growing population of career-driven women is the concept of separate bank accounts. While more traditional marriages push for the commingling of all assets into a marital account, several changes in our family best practices have moved away from the marital, joint account to the more egalitarian approach of separate accounts that contribute to a joint marital account. This is largely because women are now outnumbering men in college admissions and enrollment, and are at least 50 percent of the workforce, marking a significant change from earlier generations.

Considering Separate or Joint Bank Accounts?

There are several considerations for couples deciding whether to maintain their separate accounts or not. First and foremost, finances and how money is spent is one of the key sources of marital strife cited in divorce. Sharing the same ethos regarding how to spend, or save money, is not always going to be agreed upon by your partner. Because of this, households, where the spouses each earn a living and contribute to the whole, tend to prefer a set-up where separate bank accounts provide independence as to the personal spending and savings. As long as the joint bank accounts are being replenished periodically and there is a consensus on how that money is contributed, the personal accounts are there for the personal spending without having to justify the use of your own earnings to your spouse.

Do Separate Accounts Mean Secret Accounts?

While some worry that separate bank accounts lead to secrets and a fear of illicit, unchecked spending, many who have separate bank accounts argue that if anything, those separate accounts actually provide more security in knowing that if the marriage does not work out, there is a personalized safety net and money management that can alleviate the strain from divorce. No amount of snooping or spying will curb a cheating spouse; a spouse cheats because he/she makes a decision to be unfaithful. Having personal money, on the other hand, softens the financial blow that may come when a household is in chaos resulting from an adulterous spouse.

Open Communication is the Answer No Matter Which Option You Choose

The most important aspect of your marriage if you and your spouse decide to have separate bank accounts is to have open and honest communication about how the monthly amenities are being taken care of. A detailed conversation assessing a monthly budget, and the extent to which each partner pays his/her share will go along way in the marriage, and many believe it leads to lasting stability and less petty fights over a buck or two.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Mount Pleasant, Charleston Area

The decision to have separated or joint bank accounts also have legal considerations. An experienced family law attorney at Klok Law Firm LLC can help provide you and your spouse further information on the legal and financial ramifications of choosing a financial method for your marriage. Contact Klok Law Firm LLC today for a free and confidential consultation.