Newly married couples should consider all of the benefits and drawbacks of joint bank accounts before deciding how they will handle their money. Joint accounts encourage the couple to communicate about all expenses, but this can lead to fights if one party is a saver and the other a spender. Keeping all of the couple's money in a single account also makes it easier for them to keep track of their budget.
In many cases, though, joint accounts may not be the right choice. This is especially true if one party received an inheritance with stipulations on how he or she may spend the funds. Keeping the money in a separate account could also protect it if the couple files for divorce. If both parties' names are on the account, they would each receive half of the money in a divorce.
The solution may be to do a combination of these. Since many bills are joint endeavors, such as mortgage and insurance payments, keeping a joint account for paying bills may be the way to go. The couple may wish to keep two separate spending accounts, though, for everyday purchases. This allows them to maintain their financial independence without angering each other about spending habits. They may wish to put both of their names on all accounts, however, to ensure that both parties have access in case of emergencies.
Many people going through a divorce find that the division of marital property is one of the most contentious issues that they face. An attorney can often assist a client in negotiating a comprehensive settlement agreement that covers this matter and then submit it to the court for its approval.