Love plus money can equal a mess. In a new survey by Experian, 59 percent of people said that finances played a role in their divorces, and 20 percent said it played a “big” role. Some 44 percent said former spouses ruined their credit, and 59 percent of those polled said they regret not being more financially independent in their marriage.

What’s the secret for keeping money from ruining your relationship?

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Communicate: “It’s important to be forthright and communicate what’s going on,” says Rochelle Odesser, vice president of Madison Planning Group in West Harrison. “If you have heavy debt, whether it’s student loans or credit cards, both parties need to be aware.”

Share responsibilities: Pay bills together, or take turns; both need to know what is going on with the finances. Avoid surprises. The most important step any couple can take is to have a monthly budget meeting, says Paul Moyer, founder of

“In my family, my wife is the budgeter, so she puts together the initial budget each month, then we sit down and discuss it,” he says. “This makes sure she didn’t miss anything and that each of us has items in the budget that we feel are important. By having this monthly communication and sticking to our plan, we have made it through 12 years of marriage, without having a money fight.”