Are You Ready ‘for Richer or Poorer?’

Before you say “I do,” it is important to understand the marital contract you are assenting to. When you legally bind yourself to another person in marriage, you often become legally responsible for any debts incurred by either of you during the marriage and become entitled to half of all marital assets. Beyond the affections and emotional commitments that will tie you to your spouse, your marriage will entwine you legally to that person’s financial decisions for the length of your union.

It is for this reason that an increasing number of people are seeking to draft prenuptial agreement contracts before they legally wed. Because even if you have complete faith that your union will last until death do you part, it is a financially sound decision to outline certain money-related expectations before you marry.

Financial disputes are a leading cause of divorce in America. By proactively creating boundaries and expectations for the financial health of your marriage in a prenuptial agreement, you may avoid serious financial disputes down the road. In this way, prenuptial agreements can actually save marriages.

In determining how you and your future spouse should construct your prenuptial agreement, you may wish to both discuss certain matters privately and then in the presence of an experienced family law attorney. Matters that may benefit from the discussion include debt management, asset protection, retirement, and any complications that may arise from combining your finances. By planning for financial matters in advance of your marriage, you may ultimately both protect your own interests and contribute to the health of your future union.

Source: Wall Street Journal, “Financial Issues to Discuss Before You Get Married,” Daniel Lippman, Sep. 29, 2013

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