Question:

What do you do when your spouse will not stop over spending and puts you into debt risking financial problems? I do not believe in divorce for this reason.

Thanks!


Answer:

There are limits to what can be done, but there are measures you can take to reduce the damage.

Normally I would expect a couple to share their bank accounts, but when one spouse is being irresponsible to the financial welfare of the family the best solution is to split the accounts. One is the family account that both have access to. The other is the account that only the responsible person has access to. A budgeted amount is place each month in the shared account and this is what the spendthrift spouse uses. If the spendthrift spouse also has income, then that also goes into the shared account. Certain categories of bills are paid from this account, but none that are critical to the family. The private account is used to pay all other bills, including the critical bills.

If the spendthrift constantly overdraws, use an account that doesn't allow overdrafting. The spendthrift gets a debit card tied to this account but not a credit card. Of course, you cannot prevent the spendthrift from getting his or her own card, but you can insist that it is in the spendthrift's name only. You may need to check with a lawyer or financial expert to make sure that the spendthrift's debt don't become your own.