In the not so distant past it was ‘normal’ for Aussies to partner off in their youth, marry in their early twenties and, as a couple, they would collectively develop a credit rating reflective of their shared financial habits. Whatever this was, couples copped this on the ‘collective chin’. However, with Australians taking longer to settle down to a life of coupledom, and with these relationships more likely than ever to end in divorce, chances are you will have time to accrue an independent (and often colourful) financial history by the time you finally do meet someone special.
Depending on who you are this can be either a good thing or the stuff from which nightmares are made.
You see, while you might be ‘in love’ and while you may find you partner blisteringly attractive, the whole thing stands to come unstuck if you are financially incompatible.
No, I’m not just talking about spending habits or even your overall attitude towards money; I’m talking about the state of your financial health when you enter a relationship. You see, as more and more of our clients are learning the hard way, a poor credit history has the potential to not only be crippling, but to be highly contagious.
“But I’m good with money. I’ve got an awesome credit rating, surely that counts for something.”
Yes it does. Especially to the financier. You see, the financier will be satisfied because YOU are the one who is good with money. However, when the time comes to separate the finances at divorce, you may be shocked that you have now inherited the debts of your partner. ‘Sexually Transmitted Debt’, occurring when the relationship inevitably buckles under the strain of financial pressure, finds the person who originally had the good credit rating, saddled with your ex-partner’s bad credit rating AND even their debt from before you hooked up. Sounds unfair right?
The best advice I have for modern couples is to seek professional legal advice early in the relationship and well before you actually move in together or make any kind of financial commitment. Similarly, if you find yourself the loser at the tail end of a relationship that is sinking you in the red, I urge you to speak to a skilled solicitor to devise an effective strategy to safeguard your future and preserve what is left of your financial integrity.
Your financial assets have been hard won and it makes sense to do everything in your means to protect them from the liabilities of others. While we are not in the business of mending hearts, Welden & Coluccio Lawyers have the knowledge and experience to help you to overcome these challenges to get back on financial track.