Couples planning to blend families often have to make financial arrangements that respect previous relationships with ex-spouses and their families. Issues range from childcare and eldercare to potentially complex matters involving businesses, investment assets and real estate. That’s why involving trained experts in step-family financial planning is a must.
Here’s a list of issues and solutions potential spouses and partners should consider before blending families:
Start by sharing all financial interests:
- Current credit reports and credit scores. Extensive loans or bad credit for one or both partners can endanger future purchasing plans for cars, home or tuition. It’s also important to share information about personal or cosigned loans to family and friends.
- Assets and liabilities. Potential spouses or partners should know each other’s financial assets and liabilities and any issues connected with them that can affect the marriage. Debt and credit issues may be a problem, but if one spouse has extensive assets, it’s important to clarify whether those assets will be shared legally or promised to others.
- Legal issues. If divorce, child custody, foreclosure, bankruptcy, or any other civil or criminal legal proceedings are pending against either partner or members of their families, full disclosure is essential.
- Business and estate issues. If potential spouses or partners have significant estate or business assets assigned to children, former spouses or family members, those commitments need to be factored into the finances of the planned marriage or partnership.