Financial independence is a fundamental aspect of women’s security. Whether it is the ability to sustain oneself financially, have access to money whenever and wherever, or have cash on hand in case of an emergency, a woman’s financial situation is paramount. Nevertheless, the question of how a woman should cast her financial safety net remains controversial for some.
After her marriage started showing red flags, one woman’s concern prompted her to start planning a rainy day divorce fund. While some found her “get-out fund,” problematic, others saw it as a necessary precaution.
Divorce Funds Are A Thing
A woman, who we’ll call Amy, has been married to her husband, who we’ll call Kurt, for eight years. She explains that they maintain fair but separate finances, both contributing equally to bills and a joint savings account. The couple, however, holds separate checking accounts. According to Amy, after expenses, it is up to them how they choose to spend their remaining funds.
Amy explains that she and Kurt make roughly the same amount of money. In spite of that, Kurt is more inclined to spend his money on expensive hobbies. Amy built a separate personal savings account with her excess funds to serve as a “divorce fund” in the event of a separation.
According to Amy, she opened the account due to some red flags. “I’m just not sure about my marriage and I feel safer having the ability to leave if things get worse,” she says. “My mom was in two abusive relationships while I grew up and I never want to be in a situation where I feel trapped,” she adds, indicating that such a fund could provide protection.
Despite Kurt’s nonabusive behavior towards Amy, she mentions that they haven’t had sex with each other in five years. Although she mentions that they’re in therapy, the lack of intimacy has caused tension.
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“I don’t feel like I’m in a relationship anymore and I’m not sure how to fix it when he refuses to open up to me,” she shares. Amy says she is giving the situation time but feels better about having a plan in place if things get worse.
Her willingness to outline an exit strategy didn’t sit well with her best friend. Following her confession, they said she was disloyal to her marriage.
In their opinion, by having a secret divorce fund, Amy has “one foot out the door.” Rather than wait, they suggested she leave now since it would be the kinder thing to do.
Does The Money Really Matter?
Marital success isn’t automatic. Taking your situation for granted can have serious consequences. As Amy mentioned, she did not want to be trapped as her mother once was, a situation that many women face when they become financially dependent on their spouses.
Is having a divorce fund equivalent to having one foot out the door? While some may think so, others see it as no more complicated than a standard insurance policy. It’s never a bad idea to take responsibility for your financial security. Or is it?
Finances in relationships is always a tricky topic, and often times isn’t split evenly down the middle. If one partner contributes more to bills or a joint savings account while the other is setting aside extra money for a divorce fund, it could be perceived as both deceitful on multiple levels.
It is inevitable that even if one is an expert at keeping secrets, the fund would eventually come to light if divorce proceedings began. As part of a divorce, all assets acquired during the marriage are divided. This begs the question, does the divorce fund money really matter?
What Happens To That Fund If You Ultimately Divorce?
In the end, only you can decide if opening a divorce fund is worthwhile. Despite its ability to provide financial security and autonomy, it is not without its drawbacks. Cash is generally divided as marital property unless proven as separate property, such as a gift.
In Amy’s case, most commenters agreed that she was in the right for setting aside the funds since it was primarily hers and they had agreed to maintain separate accounts. They did inform her of the fate of her rainy day funds. “In a divorce, I highly doubt he wouldn’t get half of it anyway,” said one commenter.
If you decide that a secret divorce fund will help you sleep at night, you may want to take some of the advice above. Make sure you are familiar with the specific laws of your state with regards to your spouse’s rights to the fund. Account for the amount not being there when you need it and save even more.
In addition, it can be helpful to reflect on why you need the fund in the first place. And, whether your relationship with your spouse needs more attention.