Consolidating finances after marriage

Put down how much you both earn, spend, and save each month.List down details of your bank accounts, investments (stocks, mutual funds, gold, property and so on), income sources other than salary, existing loans and credit cards.To ensure that you are able to quickly get credit at the best possible terms, be sure you both understand all the implications that accompany a joint account.In addition, consider how the payments stemming from a major credit purchase will affect your overall budget.Women who take their husband's surname after getting married need to notify the Social Security Administration and their current creditors of this change.You do not need to notify the credit reporting agencies of a name change.Debt that was racked up for things like child care, housing or food must be shared by both parties, even if a joint account was not created. Joint liability on shared accounts goes for new and existing credit lines.If you sign up as a joint holder on your husband’s existing credit card, you will be liable for everything charged to that card, even his wild bachelor party. Once you both sign on, the balance becomes a shared asset, regardless of who deposited the money and when.

Even if your spouse opens up a line of credit in their name only, you could still be liable for that debt.That could work against you if creditors come after your spouse’s debt and want to go after the money in your shared account.For the most part, the rules are the same for same-sex couples and civil unions in states where they are deemed equal to marriage.This can be done as a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement and is common when one spouse opens their own business.Some lenders may also agree not to go after your spouse for any debt you incur, but it is rare and you’ll need to make sure that is written in the contract.

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Creditors can go after a couple’s joint assets to pay an individual’s debt.

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