I have to admit upfront that I am a romantic at heart, but over the years I have learned that there is some real value to reining in the emotions and looking at marriage more like a business merger. When you are contemplating a life-long partnership, it really is important to make sure you are on the same page about finances, because in the end if you are not united on this issue, it could tear a marriage apart.

We may all have our different missions in life, but at the end of the day, we all need a place to live, food to eat, transportation, clothing and some basic entertainment. With your partner, you need to have some consensus about the household budget, including how much you are going to try and save each month and how you are going to address any debt. It is amazing to me how many of my clients come into the office admitting that only one of the parties knows about the couple’s financial condition. I often wonder how many of these marriages could have been saved if the couple had just talked more about the budget and any problems, or sought the advice of a financial planner, before they were faced with a major crisis.

As parents, we owe it to our children to make sure that they are safe and secure– and that requires having sufficient means financially to for their basic necessities. I cannot tell you how many people I see living well beyond their means. Usually, the more money people make, the more debt they take on, and with increased obligations come increased stress. Most people do not handle stress very well, and this is a major source for a lot of breakups. That for sure is the last thing kids need to see or experience, for the sad reality is that if there is not enough money to support one household, there is going to be even less to support two.

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.