The last 15 years as a matrimonial attorney, I’ve really enjoyed working with couples on their prenuptial agreements, which now works out to be almost 30% of my consults. Yet I realize many continue to see this as unappealing or perhaps unromantic, so I’m willing to cut you some slack, especially if you are young and lacking in assets, but at least have some money talks before you tie the knot and make sure you are on the same page with respect to finances. Here are my top 10 questions to ask:
1. What is your credit score?
2. What are your outstanding debts?
3. What is your annual income?
4. What do you enjoy spending money on?
5. What are your current assets?
6. What do you envision as shared household expenses, and how will we pay those?
7. What do you envision as separate expenses, and how will we pay those?
8. How many kids do you want- and how will we pay for their upbringing?
9. What assets do you want to create together during the marriage?
10. How important is it for you to save for an emergency fund, retirement, kids’ college?
Before you legally and financially bind yourself to another person, you have to know the answers to all these questions. How can you plan for a future when you don’t know what you are starting with today? If compromises need to be made, better to know now versus later, after you’ve said “I do.” No one in life starts playing a game and starts asking about the ground rules half way through it– we all need to establish agreed-upon rules before entering into anything, and this is especially true in married life.
If you want marital bliss, get the money talks over before you walk down that aisle, and if you really want to be sure about the ground rules, get it down on paper by investing in that prenup!
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.