There are so many things to think about as you prepare for your wedding. If you are planning a big bash, decisions regarding location, flowers, food, guest lists, dresses and tuxedos, transportation and honeymoon plans can be overwhelming. However, these decisions should pale in comparison to more important issues that should be discussed and resolved prior to marriage.
As evidenced by the high number of divorces in the U.S., it is apparent that too many couples fail to discuss money issues prior to tying the knot. No matter your age or financial situation, it is important to communicate and come to an understanding of how money and marital assets will be handled during the marriage. Following are some questions to ask before you set your wedding date:
- Analyze expenses: Carefully review your expenses and decide how you will afford big-ticket items such as a new home or car. Will you open joint accounts or maintain separate finances? Who will be responsible for the marital bills and how much of each paycheck should be saved for retirement?
- Raising children: Not only must couple decide whether to have children, they should also decide who will stay at home to raise them or how they will pay for daycare.
- Paying student loans: Whether the loans are yours or those of your grown children from a prior marriage, many recent graduates have tens – if not hundreds – of thousands of dollars in student loans that take priority over other bills.
- Protecting assets: If you enter a marriage with property or business interests, it is important to discuss how you intend to hold and maintain those assets after the wedding. You may wish to obtain a premarital agreement.
Tennessee prenuptial agreements
Although Tennessee has not adopted the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act used by many states across the nation, it has adopted laws which allow enforcement of prenuptial and antenuptial – after marriage – agreements. Aside from the wedding bells and starry-eyed bliss of a honeymoon, marriage is really a type of financial arrangement.
Many people contemplating marriage shy away from discussing premarital agreements because they believe the contracts are merely in contemplation of divorce. However, such agreements can actually reduce friction in the marriage and can provide financial security in the event a spouse dies without a valid will.
Seek legal assistance
Many legal questions can arise when contemplating marriage. If you intend to marry, consult a family law attorney. A lawyer knowledgeable about personal and business asset protection matters can help you plan for a successful marriage, or can help if you and your spouse decide to go separate ways.