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Money issues should be discussed before marriage

Those planning to be married often get involved in very detailed wedding planning. Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, something chocolate! Ok, we made that last one up, but chocolate is mighty good. Equally as good is the idea that such couples should have a frank and detailed discussion about money issues, and that in many instances, a prenuptial agreement may be helpful.

Topics that can be discussed include what take home pay each prospective spouse earns, what current debts and credit scores each has, and what major assets they own. Will the couple mingle their finances or keep them separate? Will each of them maintain their own credit cards in their own name, or will they only hold joint accounts?

Prenuptial agreements are especially useful when one spouse is coming into the marriage with significantly more in the way of assets acquired prior to the marriage than the other. Additionally, in instances of a second or subsequent marriage, particularly when the earlier marriage resulted in children, a good prenuptial agreement can help ensure that such children are always adequately provided for and receive their fair share of a parent's assets in the event of death or divorce.

Prior to drawing up a prenuptial agreement, there should be a full disclosure of earnings and assets. Such an agreement should be entered into voluntarily and based on informed consent. Each prospective spouse should have their own independent lawyer to avoid conflicts of interest.

Too many engaged couples, unfortunately, seem to have a negative attitude about discussing financial issues. This is unfortunate and can later lead to resentments and problems when financial issues remain unclear or unresolved.

Source: Fox Business.com, "Engaged? Money Talk More Important than Wedding Planning" Barbara Mannino, Jun. 21, 2013

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