Blended Family and your finances
When you and your new blended family partner contemplate forming a blended family, you can reasonably expect that visitation and extra-curricular activity schedules will dominate many of your conversations and your day to day plans. The challenges do not stop there. When two families join forces, it seems that everything has a financial implication, beginning with where everyone will live all the way through to who will pay for college. If you have not already had a serious discussion about blended family finances, you ought to, as soon as possible.
Begin soon, follow through, and follow up
Unless you and your intended plan on having a Prenuptial Agreement, and many partners with children of their own think it is a good idea, you really do not have to make detailed decisions right away. Still, blending family finances and post-divorce obligations, not to mention bank accounts, do seem to go more smoothly when money matters are discussed thoroughly before the wedding.
Many couples shy away from having a prenup, disliking the negative flavor it gives to their remarriage. However, not only does it spell out what each of you owns and can expect if you end up single again, a pre-marriage agreement also lets one spouse waive rights to property, such as a family camp or a savings account which the other spouse wants to preserve for his or her biological kids. In some blended family situations, this could be a contentious issue. A prenup can go a long way toward reassuring your step kids you will neither squander nor claim their entire inheritance!
Organize bank accounts
How you decide to manage your finances is totally up to you, and only you and your new partner know what will work best for your blended family. Although some couples are quite content to maintain their individual pre-remarriage accounts, and have no problems, many couples elect to establish a blended family joint household account and a joint savings for their life together, and keep other accounts separate.
No secrets in your blended family marriage
The single most important factor in any and all of your blended family financial matters is to be open and above-board with each other. Not only is trust a vital component of your relationship, knowing that there can be no hidden financial surprises for you to cope with can make long-term planning easier and less stressful.
Keep it up
However you design your blended family finances, take the time and effort to carry them out properly and in good order. Work together to be sure the plan is working well and allows adequate funds for the needs of your blended family. Making a blended family work is hard. Help make it easier by having a good handle on your joint assets and obligations, and get a grip on the financial future of your family! For more information and help, go to The Blended and Step Family Resource Center, your online center dedicated to helping blended and step families be successful.