How Debt Consolidation For Married Couples Works
Marriage is a big event in people's lives. It is the coming together of two people to form a new institution. Unfortunately, many people do not consider the impact of debt on their relationship before tying the knot.
The average American carries somewhere close to $10,000 worth of debt and this debt does not disappear when one enters into marriage. How one decides to deal with their debt can have a major impact on the longevity of their marriage.
Here we will discuss the intricacies of debt and how it can impact marriage.
When You Are Married, Do You Share Debt?
Almost everyone brings debt of some kind into a marriage, whether this is consumer credit card debt, lines of credit, or a mortgage. Any debt that an individual brings into a marriage remains their obligation, whereas any debt taken on together after marriage becomes the responsibility of both parties.
How responsibility for debt is shared between spouses depends upon state laws and the type of debt in question.
For example, there are these 10 states in which couples can opt into a community property arrangement
- New Mexico
This would mean that all debts incurred by either individual during the relationship becomes the responsibility of both individuals. This even applies to debt that one partner was not aware that the other one took out.
In all other states, marital debt will fall under common law. In short, this means that any debt taken on that is deemed to benefit the couple or their family equally becomes a shared responsibility, even if the marriage is ended. All individual debts, such as credit cards, car loans, personal loans, and lines of credit are considered the sole responsibility of the person whose name is on the account.
The Benefits Of Debt Consolidation As A Married Couple
Financial issues are one of the most commonly reported causes of stress and friction in a marriage. More often than not, debt is at the core of these economic worries and can lead to divorce. Luckily, couples have debt reduction options available to them, the most common and effective of which is debt consolidation.
Debt consolidation involves taking out one loan to pay off all outstanding debts. This loan will ideally have a lower interest rate, a more favorable term, and will leave the borrowers with a single monthly payment to worry about. The consolidation process for married couples delivers several advantages, the most important of which are listed below.
- Lower Monthly Payment: Couples struggling to fulfill their monthly debt obligations will find it easier to make the necessary payments if they are required to pay less per month.
- Lower Overall Cost: Because of a reduced interest rate, the overall cost of a couple's debt can be greatly reduced. This depends largely on the repayment term they choose.
- Reduced Stress: Stress is the most common cause of arguments between partners. This is especially true when the cause of stress is debt. Debt consolidation can help couples enjoy one another's company again, and not have debt get in the way of a healthy marriage.
Best Practices For Debt And Marriage
Marriage is one of the most well-known institutions in our society, most people at some point get married and understand in some depth what it entails. Unfortunately, debt and its impact on marriage is a topic rarely broached by society.
Be Open And Honest
One of the agreed-upon pre-requisites of marriage is honesty; without honesty from both parties, a marriage is very unlikely to survive. Unfortunately, many people are not entirely open with their spouse about what level of debt they have and this almost always leads to problems.
Before marriage, a couple should sit down and take stock of each other's debts, analyzing how it can affect their relationship and what is the best course of action moving forward.
All decisions about how to manage debt should be made as a couple. This way both parties are on the same page about what is expected of them financially. When a couple suffers financially so too does their marriage.
Make Sensible Moves
Partners should encourage and support one another in making smart financial decisions, especially as it pertains to debt. This also helps promote openness and honesty and mitigates any potential arguments that may arise out of unknown or surprise debt. Whether it be one or both partners, any debt issues should be addressed together, with the goal being to move towards the best possible solution.
Having a productive and loving marriage is not easy, and financial issues caused by debt doesn’t make it any easier. Accordingly, couples struggling with debt should evaluate whether debt consolidation is a viable reduction solution.