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Money discussions are essential prior to a prenuptial agreement

There are a number of reasons why Texans make the mistake of not getting a prenuptial agreement. Some consider it akin to planning for failure. Many don't think that they have enough money or other assets to need one. Others don't feel comfortable having the serious discussion of finances that drafting a prenuptial agreement entails.

No matter what your financial situation, it's always essential for a couple who plans to spend the rest of their lives together to discuss their individual financial situations -- the good, the bad and the ugly. Your future spouse has a right to know how much debt you have and what your credit scores are, and you should know the same about him or her.

Further, it's essential that you discuss your financial goals. When do you plan to buy a house? How many children are you going have? Does one or both of you want to start a business or go back to school? How much and where do you want to travel? How long do you plan to work before you retire? These are all tied to your financial goals.

One personal finance columnist suggests ways to bring up the subject with your future spouse to get the discussion going. While you're paying bills, mention casually that you just realized that the two of you haven't discussed your financial situations. When discussing plans and goals, talk about how you plan to pay for them. Don't go straight to asking to see credit reports.

Many people are ashamed to talk about their financial situation because they haven't saved as much as they should have or have a lot of debt. If that's the case with your future spouse, and he or she is trying (or at least willing) to improve the situation, it's important to be sympathetic rather than judgmental. Talk about how the two of you will work to build up the savings and pay off the debts. You may want to suggest that the two of you see a financial advisor.

Experienced Texas family law attorneys know how to facilitate these difficult conversations when drafting a prenup. They also will work to help ensure that the financial information provided by both people is complete and accurate. However, the prenup meeting should not be a couple's first discussion of their individual financial situations or their financial goals as a couple.

Source: The Los Angeles Times, "Before marriage, have a frank financial talk" Liz Weston, Dec. 21, 2014

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