Many couples know the importance of a prenuptial agreement in case of divorce. But what you might not know is that keeping separate checking and savings accounts during marriage can help you almost as much as a prenup can. You should learn the benefits of this type of arrangement if you are considering ways to keep yourself safe in case you end up being one of the many adults to get divorced.
You Will Have Your Own Money
Even if only one of you works, it is a good idea to have money in your own account. Otherwise, if you were to get a divorce, your spouse could end up taking hold of it immediately, either taking all the debit cards or draining the account. This would leave you with no money to live on, which can be especially disastrous if you have children to care for. It can take weeks or months to set up a hearing to get child support or alimony, so you need at least some cash to survive until then. Therefore, if you make your own money, put it in your own checking or savings account. If your spouse makes all the money, you should at least get some of it to put in your account so you can pay any bills you have or save money long-term.
You Can Protect Yourself from a Spouse with Bad Spending Habits
If your spouse does not care about his or her credit score or savings account, but you do, separate accounts may work well. You can simply pay all your own bills on time and pay down credit cards, and if your spouse does not do the same, you will not be affected nearly as much as you would with comingled funds. Keep in mind that this works only if you pay all the bills on time with your name on them, since your credit and financial situation will be dragged down with your spouse's if he or she constantly forgets to pay your joint bills.
When you pay all your own bills, you will have a good credit score and can therefore easily get a home to rent or buy on your own if you get a divorce. On the other hand, it can be hard to live on your own when your spouse has destroyed your credit score and payment history.
Proceed with Caution with Joint Accounts
If you do decide to have one joint account to make paying bills a bit easier, you should keep a close eye on it. Look at your statements every month to make sure there are no suspicious transactions. Not only can this help protect you from a spouse who is stealing money behind your back, but it can also ensure that you catch identity theft attempts early on. Therefore, it is important to be cautious if you do have a joint account.