JLJ Family Law » Page 'Money Questions to Ask Before Marriage'

Money Questions to Ask Before Marriage

Money can be a major source of contention in marriage, and it is certainly a hot button item at the time when couples decide to divorce.

Too often people fail to realize that a marriage is the beginning of business relationship as well as an emotional one.  Upon marriage, the couple begins to create a community estate (absent a premarital agreement), and also becomes liable for debts created during the marriage.  A spouse can also become indirectly responsible for premarital tax liabilities of the other spouse, because the IRS has the authority to attach tax refunds and levy against accounts and real estate that is community property.

A little pre-divorce financial planning can save a lot of conflict down the road, and as difficult as the conversations may get, they are well worth it to protect your financial future.

Before you say “I Do”:

  1. Exchange credit reports
  2. Discuss how bill-paying responsibilities will be handled
  3. Exchange recent tax returns
  4. Discuss expectations about how bank accounts will be maintained
  5. Discuss expectations for saving money
  6. If one or both of you have children from prior marriages, discuss expectations for handling their expenses.
  7. If there is an expectation of monetary gifts from parents, or receipt of inheritance, discuss how those will be handled (under Texas law they are the separate property of the recipient; however, many times the other spouse considers it “their” money also.
  8. Consider beneficiary designations on life insurance, retirement accounts, and bank accounts.
  9. Review your estate planning.
  10. Determine if a premarital property agreement is appropriate.
  11. Consider meeting with a financial planner to assist you with putting together a financial plan for your future – sometimes the conversation is easier with a neutral professional to guide it.

Our firm can assist clients to protect themselves financially as they enter into a marriage.  Jody Lynn Johnson, P.C.; www.jljfamilylaw.com; 469-429-0093.

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