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Unmarried couples need to discuss finances

39082263_S.jpgWhile married couples may enjoy a variety of financial benefits regarding tax breaks and spousal Social Security benefits, there are couples who prefer to remain unmarried while cohabiting. There are any number or reasons for foregoing the rings, the vows and the marriage license, but there is no avoiding most of the same economic realities experienced by married couples.

So, if you and your significant other are among the millions of couples who live together without being married, it is just as important that you take your shared finances as seriously as your married counterparts. To this end, there are several steps you can take to clarify your financial situation.

The most basic thing you can do is talk about money. Too often couples move in together without discussing such important issues as debt, income, and savings. You each need to understand the other's spending and saving habits. In this way, you have a better chance of being prepared to handle money-related problems that can harm your relationship.

You also need to realize that as time passes, your finances and assets will become more and more commingled. Therefore, it is a very wise idea to protect yourselves with some of the same tools used by married couples. For example, you can obtain essential legal documents that pertain to estate planning, finances, healthcare and medical directives.

By addressing your shared finances early in your relationship, you may be able to avoid disputes should you and your partner split. Unfortunately, sometimes couples can encounter conflicts regardless of the steps they take, especially in matters regarding property division. These disputes can prove complicated, so it is very helpful to have an advocate work on your behalf. An experienced family law attorney can represent your interests and work to ensure you get your fair share of a final settlement.

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