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Married with separate checking accounts

Divide monthly expenses
Divide monthly expenses © Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com

More often than not, one spouse has a substantially higher income than the other. It used to be the husband, but according to a study by the Pew Research Center in 2010, wives are now emerging as the dominant income providers.

Long says that if both parties fairly share in the expenses, the spouse with the lesser income will feel more empowered, plus the higher-earning spouse will feel less like the burden of paying all the bills is entirely on him or her. Having separate checking accounts makes dividing expenses much easier.

"Sharing joint expenses keeps a sense of fairness in the relationship and helps to ease any resentment," Long says. "Each spouse could contribute a percentage to joint expenses that matches the percentage their income brings to the table."

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