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Even though same-sex marriages are now legal throughout the United States, it's important for couples to discuss their finances early in a relationship. You don't want unpleasant financial surprises to put a damper on your relationship shortly after you move in together or get married because that can easily lead to a split.

Here are some questions that every same-sex couple should ask each other as soon as the relationship starts to get serious:

Are you spenders or savers?

Do you and your romantic partner both tend to put away money for a rainy day? Do you both spend your money as soon as you get it? Do you have different approaches? You need to have a meeting of the minds and agree on what's reasonable to save or spend before you mingle your finances.

What kind of debt do you each carry?

You need to start discussing the type of financial burdens you each could be bringing to the relationship. In addition, it's important to discuss how that debt happened. A partner who is carrying loads of credit-card debt might be a bigger financial risk than someone who has a pile of student loans.

Do you want to get married?

There are emotional and practical reasons to get married -- not the least of which is the fact that you finally have that right. However, that also means that same-sex couples may want to consider the tax implications of marriage. When you aren't married, you have more flexibility in how you report your income on your taxes. You also avoid the so-called "marriage tax" that can cost a lot of money if you both work and both have a substantial income.

Having these discussions ahead of time can help you avoid a divorce down the line. If a divorce is in your future, however, an attorney can help you better understand your rights and obligations.

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