Marriage and Money: Prenuptial Agreements and Beyond

By Minara El-Rahman on October 28, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Love may make the world go 'round but it does not promise to keep a marriage intact. The statistics about marriage may surprise you.

The New York Times reports that the risk that any marriage will end in divorce is about 45 percent, according to David Popenoe, a professor of sociology emeritus at Rutgers University. The chances fall to about 40 percent for first marriages and decline further for college-educated couples, people from intact families and couples who share the same religion.

One way to ensure that you don't end up a sad statistic? Try having a chat about important financial issues before you tie the knot.

Here is a list of money topics you need to know:

Prenuptial Agreements:

  • A prenuptial agreement is a legal document drafted between two people intending to get married.
  • Prenups are intended to protect the assets of each party.
  • Prenups can be used to clarify financial rights and responsibilities of each spouse during the duration of the marriage

You can check out a previous post about prenups here.

Current Debts:

  • Making a list of your debts prior to a start of a marriage can help you plan for the future. That way you can know a timeline for major purchases such as a house or a car.
  • Ask your future spouse for a credit report. I know, it seems really unsexy to ask for something so revealing, but knowing if your future spouse is defaulting on loans or payments can save you heartache in the long run. Am I Liable for My Husband's Debts?

Spending Habits:

  • Is your future wife a penny pincher? Is your future husband a high roller? Knowing your future spouse's spending habits will help you decide on major purchases and a good budget for your household.
  • Knowing this information will prevent fights over money in the future. Marraige and money matters don't always mix, so plan ahead.

Talking Estates:

  • What happens to your assets when one of you passes away? No matter what age you are, it important to make sure that the love of your life is taken care of if anything happens to you.
  • Check out the related resource links below if you have any questions. If you are planning on tying the knot, or you are already married, I wish you the best of luck! (Not that you need luck when you have this sweet cheat sheet).

Related Resources:

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