Till Debt Do Us Part

Mixing love and money matters may seem unromantic but finances can have polarizing effects on the most committed of couples.
 
Surveys reveal that money troubles are the leading cause of divorce. In 2014 a Harris/Decima poll found that, on average, more than four out of 10 marriages in Canada begin in debt of $21,500.
 
Hence, by talking about your financial matters with your other half early on may save you not only money troubles but, more importantly, it can keep your marriage or cohabitation on the right path.
 
The big question arises: are you doomed financially if you discover post-nuptial that your significant other is up to his or her neck in debt? While this unpleasant surprise may put your relationship on the rock, the good news is that you are not responsible for your other half’s pre-nuptial debts.
 
However, if during your marriage or cohabitation you open a joint account, assume a joint debt such as mortgage or co-sign a debt with your spouse or partner, add your spouse as an authorized user of your credit card or line of credit, you are responsible for the full debt amount. 
 
A couple years ago, TD Canada Trust surveyed persons in committed relationships and found 79% of Canadian couples have joint finances with the top three personal finance products being a joint bank account (64%), a mortgage (60%) and a joint credit card (50%).
 
Although, joint finances may be convenient for day-to-day transactions of both partners and as a token of mutual trust, you need to be aware that Joint bank accounts lay open to debt collection, Judgments or garnishments, liens and divorce consequences.
 
It is also to be noted that a bad credit history of your partner and an existing debt will have an adverse effect on your mortgage or loan application when you decide to buy a house, car or any other assets jointly with your partner.
 
Money talk should not be taboo in a blossoming romance. Talk about your personal finance sooner than later. Create safety with financial responsibility leaving no blind spots that could wreak havoc to your relationships.  

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