When you and your spouse married, you likely had plans for your future. Perhaps you both had good-paying jobs, or you were working your way up the ladder of success. As your income grew, you may have expected to avoid the common topic many spouses argue about: money. However, having more money does not necessarily eliminate problems with it.
You may be surprised to know that New York couples with high assets have just as many disputes over money as those who earn very little. Often, it is not the lack of money that causes strife between spouses. In many cases, and perhaps in yours, it is a discrepancy in philosophies about the household finances.
Conflict comes in many forms
People often think differently about money, and you cannot always be certain how your spouse feels about earning, saving and spending money. Unless you have frank discussions, perhaps even with a counselor, before you marry, you may discover too late that your money mindsets are incompatible. Even if you both earn significant salaries, you may still find that finances are a critical issue if any of the following circumstances exist in your marriage:
- One of you is frugal, and the other is a free spender.
- You have different opinions about the use of credit cards.
- Your spouse did not disclose his or her debt situation until after you got married.
- You have different financial goals, such as saving for a home or taking extravagant vacations.
- One of you is financially dishonest, such as having a secret credit card or bank account, or keeping your actual income amounts from each other.
- You and your spouse spend as much or more than you make, or one or both of you tends to make unreasonable impulse buys.
- You came into the marriage saddled with debt from your wedding.
- You cannot agree on how to handle unexpected expenses as well as daily spending.
- One of you has control of the money.
This last point often happens if one spouse earns considerably more than the other, such as if a partner leaves work to raise children or keep the house. If one of you feels your higher income allows you exclusive rights to the money decisions, you likely have some tension in your relationship.
Despite your high income, you may not be immune to the financial disputes that often destroy a marriage. If this is the case for you, these money issues will certainly play a role in your divorce. You would be wise to have legal counsel throughout the process to improve your chances of obtaining a fair share of your marital assets and debts.