Dealing with Debt as a Couple

So many things happened before your wedding and many will soon be forgotten as you settle into married life. However, something that tends to loom and that may put a damper on things is debt.

To make debt easy to deal with as a couple try

To Keep Debts Separate
When you’re part of a couple, the other person in the relationship doesn’t automatically assume responsibility of any debt you bring into the partnership. In fact it is alright to keep things separate and to ensure that you are each responsible for paying back any debt you accumulated before you got together. If not, resentment can grow if you feel obligated to assume some responsibility for each other’s debts.
Also, keep things separate until you have an agreement on how to deal with debt in the marriage. And do not co-sign for loans together, unless you both benefit from them because co-signing for a loan puts you at risk financially, especially if your partner has a bad re-payment history or has a habit of skipping out on debt.

To Put Things Down on Paper
There are some moments when you will see the advantage of taking on a joint debt but, it is best to agree and be on the same page beforehand. This will minimize arguments and prevent issues from cropping up in the future. So, outlining and putting things down on paper, will help. Before you take out a joint debt.
Agree on who is responsible for what. Also agree beforehand on what happens if things don’t work out between the two of you. Or if one of you passes away. Un-romantic as it may look putting something in writing and signing on the dotted line can save you both a lot of headaches if things don’t work out as planned together.

To Work Together
The debt, to be blunt-is your sole responsibility, even after you are part of a couple but that doesn’t mean that you both can’t start working together to figure out how to deal with it. Or any other debt in the future. So, work together and come up with a joint plan to reduce the debt.
Working together to get rid of the debt will mean coming up with a debt payment strategy together. Then, it will mean pooling your income together. Into a debt payment account. And then, it will mean agreeing on how much each one will put into the account so that you can start tackling the debt.
Remember, if one of you has more debt than the other, try not to resent that person. The important thing is that you are both working together to pay off the debt so that you can move forward with your financial lives.

To be honest and open
Some people do not like talking about money. They feel uncomfortable and the thought of talking about money, especially with someone they love, makes them cringe. But be open, honest and communicative as each person’s debt has a story behind it and it’s important for both partners to understand the story behind each other’s debts and how they got there. Ideally, you should talk about your financial situation, before you get married so you understand how much debt you have as a couple and who’s responsible for which debt.
Also being honest, will prevent assuming your partner racked up debt by frivolously spending. Things happen; perhaps your partner had a sudden job loss and had to rely on borrowing, or maybe the debt came about because they had to pay unexpected medical bills for themselves or a relative. Whatever the case may be, talking, listening and understanding your partner’s situation will avoid financial concerns simmering beneath the surface. Which could eventually lead to fights.
Remember too, to always keep each other in the loop and to continue discussing things as you accumulate new debts and financial responsibilities. There is nothing worse than having someone knocking on your door and demanding to be paid back money you know nothing about!


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