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Why shared financial responsibility is essential for couples

Many couples reject the idea of a prenuptial agreement because they believe that it's "planning for failure." However, whether you choose to get a prenup or not, doing some wise individual financial planning and saving during your marriage can help prevent unexpected and unpleasant consequences should the marriage end. Further, it's important that both spouses are involved in the financial decisions, managing the budget, paying the bills and saving for retirement.

One example of prudent financial planning is for married couples to invest roughly the same amount in each of their 401(k) or other retirement plans. Of course, if one spouse's employer has a significantly better plan with higher-performing funds and lower fees, it may be wiser for that spouse to contribute a greater share of his or her income than the other one.

If you have an employer-sponsored plan, make the most out of it. Too many people contribute only the percentage of their income that their employer matches. However, you should go beyond that if you can afford it. Further, with each income bump, increase your contribution level by the same percentage as your raise.

Frequently, one spouse handles the money, perhaps because he or she is better at it or simply wants the control. Meanwhile, the other one is happy to hand off that responsibility. However, people who don't share in the responsibility for the couple's finances often find themselves getting the short end of the stick in a divorce. Sharing in this responsibility is important for your financial future even if you and your spouse spend the rest of your lives together.

If you are contemplating divorce, or believe that your spouse is, it's essential to know what property and assets you have. An experienced Florida family law attorney can help you work to protect your assets and recommend a financial advisor who can offer additional valuable guidance.

Source: USA Today, "Figuring divorce into your financial plans fatalistic but smart," Peter Dunn, June 25, 2016

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