Discussion of Finances Should Take Place Before the Wedding, Not After

OK. It’s not romantic. But it’s still sound advice.

Finances and related matters are a subject to address before walking down the aisle. Or face greater risk of heading to divorce court.

One aspect of the conversation is how you will handle your finances after the “merger”, as a couple. Especially if you both relate to finances differently as individuals.

Don’t know how your fiance relates to finances? Then the conversation is definitely overdue.

Does one of you have debt? Does one of you own a business? Does one of you have an inheritance? Does one of you have children from a prior relationship? And so on.

If the answer to any of the above is yes, then there are questions for the couple’s finances during the marriage. And others in the event of a divorce.

The other aspect of the conversation is about what happens, financially speaking, in the event of a divorce – or in the event of the death of one spouse.

Statistics confirm marriage is not forever in many instances. Put another way, many marriages will end in divorce, if not sooner, then later.

And it is inevitable that, sooner or later, one spouse will die. Sometimes it doesn’t require the arrival of old age.

You can just wait and see how your lives will go … or you can jointly work out the financial details of divorce or survivorship now, comparatively inexpensively, without being in crisis mode – or anger mode.

This process may entail consulting with some experts before the wedding. And getting an extremely valuable education that many do not obtain until too late … after a death or after being served in a divorce case. With much regret that the education comes too late.

In some marriages, addressing finances may include working out a prenuptial agreement (prenup), sometimes referred to as an antenuptial agreement. This is particularly worthwhile in the following situations:

  1. where either spouse has one or more children from a previous relationship

  2. where either spouse owns part or all of an existing business

  3. where either spouse already owns significant assets, such as real estate, stock or retirement accounts

  4. where either spouse has received or anticipates receiving a significant inheritance and

  5. where one spouse will be supporting the other while he or she finishes their education or professional training

Read more in this Buffalo [NY] News article: Make finances part of wedding plans.