In my first marriage (circa 1980) when my Ex and I got engaged and moved into together, we made aprox the same amount of money… so splitting things downt the middle 50-50 made perfect sense.
I wanting to be soo much the modern woman, thought it was the right thing to do… in the same way that I thought keeping my maiden name was (very progressive for the times… you should have heard the bashing I took on that one right up to the year 2000)
Anyhow, when it came to money… long story short it didn’t work. Hubby eventually made TONS more money than I, and we also had children (so I went thru times when I was on Mat Leave – worked Part-time etc)… and still I payed my way … 50%
20+ Years on and we were getting a Divorce. I left dead broke. He had a lot of money, and a huge pile in Investments, Savings etc.
In my mind, if we Divorced things would be split 50-50, in that I’d be entitled to half of everything we owned. This is afterall what the law says.
Unfortunately my Ex had OTHER IDEAS. He had become very money greedy over the years, and intended to give up NONE OF IT to me.
I hired a Lawyer, and paid out close to $ 50,000 in legal fees… having to liquidate a lot of my Retirement Savings to find that…
My Ex, who had a much greater pile of money, scoffed at the legal system, and was a position where he could “Play the Game” to his advantage… he was using his financial position to make me jump thru hoops. He would pay me a small amount of whatever he owed me whenever ordered by the Courts… and then go into the arrears for the rest… so that I had to pay more legal fees to pull his butt back into court… to get the next chunk of money… and then he’d pay the exact same stunt again. And so it went for 5 years.
I couldn’t depend on him for my support / alimony payments, so I ended up cashing out more Savings. To the point that I was over $ 100,000 in the hole (and much of it in debt) and was virtually homeless and at the food bank. Not a good scene. The only thing that got me thru that time, was a great bunch of friends who let me couch surf and some great counsellors that I’d met thru the local Womens Centre.
— — —
I’ve come to realize that a 50-50 split of expenses, or a percentage equation doesn’t work either (he makes 2x as much as you, so he pays 2/3 you pay 1/3). BECAUSE there is no equality in reality… the bigger earner has too much disposible income, and the lower wage earner none. IF there is something that comes up to disrupt the flow (ie children or illness) the lower income earner is hurting waay too much
A much better solution was one I saw on a Tv Financial Program. They said that married couples truly should pool their incomes. And from the pool, pay out the Expenses (Housing – Utilities – Food – Car etc) then take out equal amounts for Each Other’s Longterm Savings (ie Retirement)… and then another portion that goes into Mutual Savings (for short-term things that one is saving for together as a couple … House, Car, Boat, Vacation etc)… and lastly whatever is left should be equally divided for each spouce to have as their Disposible Income / Spending Money.
In this way, both spouces are treated equally. And the BIG Stuff gets the priority… Immediate Bills & Lifelong Savings. Everything else is discretionary.
And god-forbid there is ever a break-up down the road, then each spouce has identical monies in their accounts / Retirement plans… so splitting up should be pretty straight forward, and a lot more along the idea of the law 50-50
As for the assets you own BEFORE being married, those can be protected by a Pre-Nup or covered off in your Wills. In our case, Mr TTR owns the house we live in, and the cars are also in his name. The Wills will be written after we are married, so that there is a percentage guaranteed to me IF he should pass (and the balance goes to his heirs). All very fair and something we’ve both agreed on without any problems.
Hope this helps,