Things to Consider Before You Say "I Do"

By Allison Fredrickson | Family & Divorce Law

You have finally found that perfect person to spend the rest of your life and you can’t wait to make it official. However, before you pick the ring or say “yes” to the dress, it is important to ask the following questions and even talk them over with your partner to see if everyone is on the same page.

Engagement Ring: Thinking about parting with a priceless family heirloom to give to your future spouse? There is no guarantee it will make it back to you if the marriage ends in divorce. As long as the receiver says, “I do”, an engagement ring is considered a gift from that point forward.

Money

Do you have a significant savings, retirement or inheritance? To protect these funds it is a good idea to speak with a family law attorney BEFORE you walk down the aisle. Simple steps of opening a separate account or retaining financial documents from the date of marriage can go a long way and your future self may be grateful.

Property

Do you already own a home? Property is a big asset and it is important to consider any future intentions you may have. Funds from a home owned before the marriage and sold after the marriage can be retained as non-marital property if you follow some advice from any family law professional.

Business

Are you your own boss or maybe you make up part of a successful family business? All things income are relevant after the date of marriage, even if your spouse has no direct involvement in your business. While marriage is a happy and celebratory event, from a business perspective it can also be a “threat” to future ownership.

Debts/Student Loans

Do you know each other’s spending habits? Do you know what happens to student loan debts if things don’t work out? Today, education loans are beyond what anyone ever anticipated and once you are married, this can affect future plans and lead to misconceptions.

Finally, it’s a good idea to have the boring conversations about combining finances. There is a lot more meaning to the saying “what’s mine is yours”. In some cases, individuals may benefit from doing a prenuptial agreement (see our blog on prenuptial agreements), especially if one or both have lived separately and accumulated significant property.


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