Most cultures hold marriage in high esteem, with complex traditions, ceremonies, beliefs, and taboos.

But, as with any partnership, marriage is ultimately a contract. Both parties agree to act or contribute to their union in a certain way (fidelity, security), and the partnership is allowed to proceed with certain benefits (special financial dispensations, tax breaks).

And, although this type of contract doesn’t have a set lifespan, it can be broken or dissolved.

Richard Cayne of Meyer International wants you to appreciate that the economics and finances of marriage shouldn’t get in the way of matrimonial happiness.

What is it all about?

Marriage is often defined as a union, but what kind of union?

Well, that depends on the law under which that union is created.

For many years, and still to this day, many countries maintained that marriage created a coverture. This is where, upon marriage, a woman’s rights and properties are subsumed or taken over by her husband. Anything she owned and earned in the past, as well as anything she will own or earn, with or without her husband, will belong to him in full. The wife basically loses all rights. And even in some cases, after divorce or separation, this coverture still persists.

Some countries default to a system of separate property. Simply, all assets and liabilities stay with the spouse who owns them, before, during, and after marriage. Things are never simple, so there are usually a complex set of exceptions, rules, regulations to determine when things must be shared.

Then there is community property. Usually, this means a sharing that begins after marriage. But again, there are cases where this begins before marriage. And, with separate property regimes, there are instances where this is not so clear cut.

What about profits and losses during the marriage? What about the everyday responsibilities, financial or otherwise? And what about the children?

Never mind the issues and contentions if unfortunately a marriage breaks up, there is also a lot to be considered during the marriage. You may think it is an equal union, but that may not be the case under the law, so although it sounds conniving and like you don’t trust the person you are about the share your life with, you may want to have some frank discussions before tying the knot.

“For young couples, you don’t know what financial obstacles or windfalls you may face, and, for older couples, things get complicated when there are ex-spouses, children, and possibly significant holdings (or debts),” Richard advises. “By discussing your financial plans early, you establish a open and honest platform. You may even find that this strengthens your relationship.”

To continue this information, contact Richard Cayne at Meyer International.

About Richard Cayne

Richard Cayne is originally from Montreal, Canada, and currently resides in Bangkok Thailand with his wife Akiko Cayne and their two young children. He runs the Meyer Group of Companies (www.meyerjapan.com).  Previously, he resided in Tokyo, Japan, for over 15 years, advising high-net worth Japanese families.

Richard has over 19 years of experience creating innovative international tax and wealth management solutions. He is also currently the CEO of Asia Wealth Group Holdings Limited (http://www.asiawealthgroup.com), an ISDX (ICAP Securities & Derivatives based stock exchange) listed Financial Holdings Company.

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