Blending Families and Finances

There are many challenges you will face when being in a relationship.  It is even more challenging  to keep a balance between your past relationship with your new relationship when either relationship includes children.  When there are multiple commitments to family members, dealing with finances can be a sticky situation.  Finances are more often than not a premise for marital tension.  It is an important part of your family relationship to prepare and plan your finances properly.

Talk about your financial goals early on with your partner.  Evaluate your and your spouse’s spending habits and any accrued debt over the years.  Take into consideration if you or your partner have a past relationship that deals with children.  Are you paying or receiving child support? How old are the children and what can you anticipate for them financially?  Whether it is college or braces, you have to establish your priorities as a family.  You also should decide early on whether or not you want to separate your accounts and debts or combine them together.

A home is an essential part of a family’s life; make sure you find the right time to create a home, whether you buy or sell or rent.  Timing is a big issue when it comes to blended families.  You do not want to uproot your children from their home and lose the sense of safety associated to their home.  There are also concerns you need to be aware of, such as changing schools and child custody, if one decides to move out of state.  A good suggestion is to make a pros and cons list.  Discuss all your concerns with your partner regarding a property. You will need to establish where you stand when creating a new home.  How will you finance it? Do you need to sell a personal property before you purchase a property together? Who will apply for a mortgage?  These are the types of questions that you will need to discuss with your partner in order to integrate your past life with your current life.

When dealing with a blended family, child support concerns may arise.  The best thing to do when dealing with the law is to consult with your attorney and make sure you prepare for any changes that may occur in the future in regards to remarriage.  Keep in mind of your former spouse’s unemployment and death.  You want to make sure that you are covered along with all the responsibilities you have for another person’s life.  If you do remarry, do not forget to change your life insurance policies to the right beneficiaries.  There are more lives to think about than your own once you marry and have children.

Lastly, estate planning is an important part of being in a blended family.  All your assets and your partner’s assets should be documented before marriage, as well as their values at the time of marriage.  Make sure that all your belongings are planned ahead of time to be distributed to the right person at the right time.  It is crucial that you have your finances settled with both your spouse and former spouse.