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How to Handle Your Money After a Breakup

Breaking up is hard to do, especially when it comes to your finances. Whether you’re getting divorced, separating from a partner, or just moving on from a casual fling, you might have some questions about how to manage your money after the split. Here are some answers to common personal finance queries, with a dash of humor and empathy.

Key Takeaways

  • If you’re legally married and have employer-sponsored health insurance, you can keep your spouse on your plan until the divorce is final. After that, they’ll have to find their own coverage.
  • If you have joint bank accounts or credit cards with your ex, you’ll want to close them as soon as possible and divide the money or debt fairly. Keep some records of the transactions in case there are any disputes later.
  • If you have any other joint debts or assets with your ex, such as a mortgage or an investment account, you’ll want to consult with a lawyer or a financial planner on how to handle them.
  • If you’re ready to combine finances with your new partner, make sure you have an honest and open conversation about your financial goals, values, and habits. You can decide how to merge your money in a way that works for both of you.

Should I keep my ex on my health insurance?

  • If you’re legally married and have employer-sponsored health insurance, you can keep your spouse on your plan until the divorce is final. After that, they’ll have to find their own coverage, either through their own employer, the health insurance marketplace, or COBRA (which lets them stay on your plan for up to 36 months, but they have to pay the full premium).
  • If you’re not married but have a domestic partner on your health insurance, you’ll have to check with your employer’s policy. Some plans may allow you to keep them on your plan as long as you’re still living together, while others may require you to end their coverage as soon as you break up. Either way, make sure you notify your HR department of any changes in your relationship status.
  • If you’re the one losing health insurance after a breakup, don’t panic. You have options. You can shop for a new plan on the health insurance marketplace, which may offer subsidies based on your income. You can also look into Medicaid, which is available to low-income individuals in most states. Or you can try to get on your parents’ plan if you’re under 26 and unmarried.

How do I split up our joint bank accounts and credit cards?

  • If you have joint bank accounts with your ex, you’ll want to close them as soon as possible and divide the money fairly. You can either agree on how to split the funds with your ex, or follow the terms of your divorce decree or separation agreement if you have one. Make sure you keep some records of the transactions in case there are any disputes later.
  • If you have joint credit cards with your ex, you’ll want to pay off the balance and close the accounts as soon as possible. You can either split the debt with your ex, or transfer it to separate cards in your own names. Again, keep some records of the payments and transfers in case there are any issues later.
  • If you have any other joint debts or assets with your ex, such as a mortgage, a car loan, or an investment account, you’ll want to consult with a lawyer or a financial planner on how to handle them. Depending on the type and amount of debt or asset, you may have to sell it, refinance it, or divide it in some way.

How do I combine finances with my new partner?

  • If you’re ready to take the next step with your new partner and merge your money, congratulations! But before you rush to open a joint bank account or buy a house together, make sure you have an honest and open conversation about your financial goals, values, and habits. You don’t want any surprises or conflicts down the road.
  • Some topics to discuss with your partner include:
    • How much income and debt do each of you have?
    • How do each of you budget and save?
    • What are your short-term and long-term financial goals?
    • How do each of you feel about spending and borrowing?
    • How will you share expenses and responsibilities?
    • How will you handle financial emergencies and setbacks?
  • Once you have a clear understanding of each other’s financial situation and expectations, you can decide how to combine your finances in a way that works for both of you. There’s no one right way to do it. Some couples may choose to keep everything separate, some may choose to pool everything together, and some may choose a hybrid approach where they have some joint and some individual accounts. The key is to find a system that reflects your shared vision and values.

Conclusion

Money matters can be tricky after a breakup, but they don’t have to be overwhelming. With some planning, communication, and cooperation, you can navigate the financial transition smoothly and start fresh. And remember: You’re not alone. There are plenty of resources and professionals out there who can help you with any questions or challenges you may face along the way. Good luck!


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