When two families come together to form one, there’s more to manage than just the wedding and living arrangement. Both parents likely have their own financial obligations, and you’ll need to split mutual expenses.
Often, figuring out how to split bills in a blended family requires some thought. Not every situation makes a 50/50 arrangement appropriate, so you need to examine yours to find a plan that works.
Additionally, you need to determine which expenses qualify as shared. For example, the mortgage could be eligible. However, if one spouse originally bought the house, they could also be responsible for the entire payment. This may be dependent on the view of the home as an asset. Does it belong to the individual or the couple?
However, quite a few options are incredibly viable, so make sure to explore these before cementing your plan.
One of the easiest approaches is a weighted or proportional income-based split. This involves determining what percentage of the household’s income comes from each parent, and using that figure to decide who pays how much.
For example, image a couple where one spouse earns $70,000 a year and the other earns $40,000. This means the first brings in about 64 percent of the income and the second around 36 percent.
In an income-based split, the first spouse would pay 64 percent of the shared expenses. The other would handle the remaining 36 percent.
Unless each parent was debt-free when they married, certain financial obligations likely came along with them. This can include anything from consumer debt to child support payments to medical expenses.
In some cases, it’s wise to examine how much of each spouse’s income goes to paying these obligations. Then use the remaining amount of income after making these payments to determine a fair split.
Managing Split Bill Payments
Once you decide on a fair split, you need to address the handling of the shared expenses. In some cases, you can assign each parent-specific bills that generate a total that matches their obligation. The approach is pretty simple, but it relies on the numbers working out properly.
An alternative involves opening a separate checking account for paying expenses. Each spouse deposits the appropriate portion of their paycheck into the account, and you pay bills using those funds. Typically, this approach is better if you can’t make the split fair using the existing payment amounts alone.
If you are both comfortable with the idea, you also have the option to combine your finances. This would mean everyone’s income would go into jointly accessible accounts with bill payments coming from those funds.
Generally, this method is only ideal if you are sharing all assets and obligations. This may work for some blended families. However, others prefer to keep things separate, and that’s okay, too.
Ultimately, both spouses need to agree on an approach that works for everyone. As long as you do that, then you found the right answer.
This article was written by Jenn Clark and Tamila McDonald from Suburban Finance and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to email@example.com.