Combining assets after marriage

kwc27, aside from the advice to see a lawyer, most of the advice given in this thread is either faulty or irrelevant to your situation.

Before you see a lawyer, though, I would suggest you find a tax accountant who does both personal and business taxes and is familiar with farm issues. An accountant is usually cheaper than a lawyer, and he/she can lay out various tax scenarios for you.

Then go find an attorney. The areas of law you need to be concerned with are family law (so you can plan on how to structure things in case of divorce), estate law (so you can plan on how to structure things in case one of you passes). You may also need an attorney to deal with business law/corporate law (for your farm). This could very well all be the same attorney, but it may not be. You’ll have to shop around.

Whatever you decide to do, do not ignore the estate planning. Many an unfortunate spouse has found themselves in a bad situation because proper estate planning wasn’t done.

But note that just because your paycheck goes into one account, and her paycheck goes into another account, and you only write checks on the first account, and she only writes checks on the second account, does not mean that those assets are not community property. This is just the way the two of you have decided to handle your household expenses. In the event of a divorce the judge wouldn’t give you everything bought from your account and her everything bought from her account, unless you both agreed to split the assets that way.

Or to put it another way, if you paid the mortgage every month out of “your” account, that doesn’t mean you’re the sole owner of the house in the event of a divorce and your wife can hit the bricks.

Oh I completely understand that. For us it’s seems like more of a hassle to have joint accounts/credit cards.

This is common in so-called “community property” states. Many forms of income are automatically considered joint property by operation of law regardless of whose name is actually on the documents. So if you take money out of your own salary and secretly go out and buy a boat and register it in your name only so you can go fishing with your old college friends, in many jurisdictions it’s automatically her boat too. So if she goes to court to get her name on the boat title, she’s not suing for ownership of the boat, she’s suing to get the title documents corrected to indicate the true ownership situation.

However, this typically doesn’t matter a whole lot on a day-to-day basis. If you find yourself having legal trouble over figuring out what is yours, what is hers, and what belongs to both of you… I’m afraid to tell you that your marriage is in serious trouble.

You don’t want factual info; evidently, you want legal info.

Because South Dakota is considered a “kitchen sink” state when it comes to separate property (it can be taken into account and divvied up in a divorce), even keeping the inheritance in a separate bank account doesn’t keep that safe. (In folks that are in non-kitchen sink states, some people invest it in a marital home, etc., and later cannot establish that the source was inheritance or pre-marital savings … or can’t overcome the presumption that the investment was a gift to the marital community.)

As for your business … which I presume is a sole proprietorship … you may want to discuss that with a local business/corporate attorney. It may be that you’re exposing yourself and by extension your future wife unnecessarily to liability.

If you’ve not engaged in any kind of premarital counseling (I don’t mean religious), you might want to consider that. For all we know, you know everything you need to and will avoid the common pitfalls. So long as things go swimmingly, there’s no need to presume you’ll argue about dough. When things get tough – and every individual’s definition of “tough” is different – that’s when you’ll see the fault lines.

Do Colorado dispensaries allow couples to open a joint line of credit?

If it worked for you, then I think that’s great.

However, this would not work for me. I expect both parties of a marriage to be on the same track. If “your own money” gets spent on frivolities, then does that mean I can let you starve when you lose your job? Or do you expect me to use “my own money” that I sacrificed to save, in order to get both of us through the lean times? I’m a firm believer that most people are selling out their own retirement one $5 latte at a time, and retirement is something that both spouses should be saving toward, because they’ll both be living on what they saved.

There needs to be a budget and everyone needs to be on board. That budget can be flexible - it might include items like “$200/month for each spouse’s discretionary spending/saving.”

So… circling back around to the OP: First, find what works for the two of you. A happy relationship is more important than an optimized tax strategy. Then, go find a professional who can help you fine tune the strategy.

I was going to try to offer something more concrete, but if you’ve got businesses and farming and land… too many variables there. You might as well ask me for tips on DIY heart surgery. :slight_smile:

That makes a lot of sense. Each spouse gets their own space to make their own personal purchases without going overboard. The wife doesn’t need her husband’s permission to get a makeover once a year or something, but if she wants to go on a solo cruise around the world without talking to him first…that’s where it becomes a problem.

You should see a lawyer and a financial advisor who specialize in sole proprietorships (assuming this is what you have) before deciding what to do.

There may be legal reasons why you would or wouldn’t want to mingle the three buckets of money. Certainly there are valid reasons to keep both your personal money apart from the business and her personal money apart from your business.

I know a few sole proprietors who don’t have their house titled in their name; instead it’s in their wives’ name. I’m sure it’s to provide a clear demarcation between personal and business assets should the business’ creditors come calling.

These professionals can offer advice on things you might not have thought of, such as taking out an umbrella policy in the unlikely event that your business is sued.

P.S. Congratulations!