Til Debt Do Us Part: How To Prevent Debt Ruining Your Marriage

Financial problems are a major cause of failed marriages. In fact, studies suggest that 40% of all divorced Gen-Xers and 29% of divorced Boomers ended their marriage due to financial disagreements.

Debt is one of the biggest culprits when it comes to financial disagreements and can tear many marriages apart. If you’re currently dealing with debt and are worried about the impact that it could have on your relationship, here are some tips to help you beat debt and stay strong as a couple.

Encourage transparency

Lying about debt can be a bigger problem than the debt itself. If you’re currently hiding debt from a partner, it could be time to come clean – you don’t want them to find out the hard way. If you suspect that your partner is hiding their financial struggles from you, you may want to confront them about it.

Transparency will help you to beat any debt together. While you don’t have to share every bit of financial information with each other, it can be beneficial to discuss how much each of you is earning and spending each month.

What’s yours is not mine

A common misconception about marriage is the belief that everything is shared. However, legally speaking, this isn’t actually the case. A partner’s debts do not become yours when you become married. Similarly, when it comes to property, anything acquired by one member of the couple is owned solely by them.

You should avoid taking on a partner’s debt and instead help them to find ways of paying it off themselves. This is particularly important if your partner regularly gets into debt, as you don’t want them to become reliant on you digging them out.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, if you are the one in debt, you should not expect a partner to help pay it off just because you are married.

There may be some debts that you legally owe together such as a mortgage that is in both of your names or arrears on an energy bill that you pay using a joint account. These are debts that you need to settle together.

Explore debt management options

There are a number of different ways to manage debt. These are worth exploring together.

When it comes to managing multiple debts, a consolidation loan could be a way of paying them all off so that you only have one debt to pay off. Many people find this easier to manage.

If you are struggling to pay back a sizable debt, there may be debt management plans and IVAs to look into. Some of these options can allow you to write off debt after a certain period. Bankruptcy should be viewed as a last resort.

Start budgeting together

To stop either of you getting into debt, it could be worth getting into a habit of budgeting together. This may help you to both live within your means and could prevent future debts. There are lots of different tricks for budgeting as a couple that you research into online. 

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