Many newly married gays might wonder how to deal with their finances upon marriage. It is definitely a tricky subject, but communication and knowledge will generally get you on the right page.
First, you may want to consider the best approach from a relationship standpoint. If you have been dating for some time and keep money separate, it may be hard to suddenly have a single account for everything. Many couples find it healthy to have a joint account in which you deposit most of your earnings to pay for monthly expenses (rent, utilities, joint bills, etc.) In addition to the joint account, you may want to establish two separate accounts in which each of you deposit a small portion of your earnings to spend on whatever you want. This can help eliminate potential arguments over spending styles and money – a hot button issue for most couples.
Second, you should consider how your money is viewed from the lens of the law. In California, you and your spouse’s earnings are all treated as community property. Unless you have a prenup that says otherwise, it doesn’t matter where you put your money (joint account, separate account, retirement accounts), anything earned during marriage is 50% yours and 50% your spouse’s. Some people choose to sign a prenup to redefine how their money is treated. For instance, you can specify that any amount of earnings that you put into your retirement account will remain your separate property. In a prenup, you can pretty much define anything as your separate property so long as your spouse agrees. It is important to define how your money will be treated officially (by prenup) or even after the marriage (by postnup) so that you and your spouse feel fair and informed about the marital finances.
Many more posts to come on this in the future!
Questions, comments, concerns, think you may need an attorney?