What If Series, Part I: Change in Marital Status

Getting Married?

If you are getting married or are recently married, Congratulations!  Every year in the US, 7 out of 1,000 people decide to take the plunge and get officially hitched.  There is little that compares with the happiness one gets when marrying their best friend. And a bestfriends you know everything there is to know about each other… or do you?

The top three things couples argue about are sex, money and kids.  Today we are talking about money and how each of you view it.

So, in between planning that perfect wedding with David Tutera and picking that perfect dress with Randy Fenoli on Say Yes to the Dress, try my Are You Financially Compatible? Quiz.

It’s meant to be a couple’s activity, so pick a night, get comfy on the sofa with pen and paper.  Read each question aloud and write you answers on paper.  Kind of like The Newlywed Game, no revealing your answers until the last question.  When done, talk about your answer and why.   

1  What is your partner’s Credit Score? What is your credit score? Is it a) Very Poor: 300-570, b) Fair: 580-669, c) Good: 570-739, d) Very Good: 740-799 or e) Exceptional: 800-850

2  Is your spouse in debt? Are you in debt?  How much and what kind

3  What is your spouse’s income? Do they have assets (own home, 401k, life insurance, etc.)

4  Regarding monthly bills, are you going to a) combine all income/expenses as one, b) Manage income/expenses separately, or c) share some income/expenses but not all

5  When married and want to make a purchase over $200, should you discuss it with your spouse first.

6  Have you or your partner ever saved money for a goal (example: vacation)? Where either of you successful?

7  Kids? Yes, how many? Will one of you stay home or hire a nanny/day care?

8  When my partner has extra money they like to _____? a) Spend, b) Save, c) Invest, d) Never happens.

9  Do you or your partner track income and spending? Is that important?

10 Do you or your partner donate to charities? If so, list the top 3 and how much?


11 What does being “rich” look like to you?

12 What does being “poor” look like to you?

13 How much do you need in an emergency fund to feel secure?

There are no right or wrong answers to the questions above.  The most important thing is being open and  honest about your answers.  If you or your partner have debt or a poor credit score and that is important to you, the good news you have time on your side.  With a plan and some effort, a poor credit score can be brought up and debt can be paid off.  Being open and honest from the beginning and continuing that way will result in little to no arguing about money.  As for the sex and kids, that’s a different post.  😉

Getting Divorced?

Every year in the US 3 out of 1,000 people will find their way to divorce.  It’s a sad statistic and one reason people are less likely to get married in the first place.  If you are one of the three, I am very sorry.  Even under the best of circumstances, it’s a difficult situation.  If kids are involved, it can be even harder.

I was in these shoes back in 2008, with two kids (preschool and kindergarten).  No matter what, it can be emotionally and mentally draining, not to mention the heaping dose of financial devastation (i.e. starting over).

Just like nostrils everyone’s got an opinion as to what you should or shouldn’t be doing.  “Divorce ruins kids”.  “Why didn’t you ask for spousal support?” I have heard it all.

First of all, let me just say that divorce does not ruin kids.  What does ruin kids is a bad divorce or bad marriage.  So long as you can keep it civil and focus on how best to support the kids, they will be fine.

Second of all, don't waste your time and money fighting over the marital assets.  Come to an agreement and move on as best you can.  Its unfair no matter how things are divided up.  Prolonging the inevitable only makes your lawyers rich.  Aside from having no money (and possibly some debt from unpaid lawyer bills), you’ll both have gained a healthy dose of anger, resentment and sadness.

For your own sake and the sake of the kids, opt for a more peaceful divorce, get it over with so the healing can begin.  Here are some things that have worked:

Educate Yourself

Are you in Florida where divorce takes only 4 weeks to process?  Or North Carolina where you are required to be legally separated for 12 months before filing for divorce?  Maybe you have been living together for a very long time.  Does your state have a “common law” marriage like in California?

Get Organized

Make a list of every asset and liability you have accrued during the marriage.  List the kids and ages.  Make sure you have all your documents needed before starting the process.

Focus on the Big Picture

You both have decided that divorce is the only option left.  Try working on separating the assets and liabilities before consulting a lawyer.

Take Responsibility

Actively participate in the divorce process.  Once you sign those papers, it’s a done deal.

Keep your integrity

If it’s a choice between money or your integrity, leave the money.  Money is like the water that comes into your house … out of the faucet and down the drain just as fast.  Get through the divorce, then start making a plan to rebuild.  Remember what’s most important.

Get Support

Divorce is hard, you may feel shame or like a failure.  You are not.  Seek professional support.  Sometimes it’s best to talk to someone that has no prior knowledge of the relationship and will just listen.

Above all and Most Important

If you have children, never ever bad mouth your spouse in front of your kids.  Ever.  This will hurt the kids and your relationship with your own children.  Whatever the reason for the divorce, keep it between you and your spouse.


Marriage and Divorce, for half of us it’s a beginning and another beginning.  For the other half, congratulations!  I am sure it’s not easy but how wonderful to have that partner to share the joys and lean on in the tough times.

Life is not a dress rehearsal, how you choose to handle it will determine how much joy is in your life.  Always have one eye on the big picture.

If nothing else, the best revenge is a happy life.  😉 Ha-ha.