If you were planning to get married this year, life is hitting you both hard with a lesson many of us didn’t get until kids came into the picture: your ability to survive together is completely linked to your ability to adapt while maintaining open and honest lines of communication.
Now more than ever, young couples in particular need to seriously discuss what is most important to them. Is the big wedding really necessary? How realistic is it that people will want to travel to a destination wedding overseas any time soon? Where can you make budget cuts to preserve your financial resources, or minimize the costs for your families?
Money talks are tough, but they are necessary. Your legal union has significant consequences that really should not be taken lightly. Your combined earning power and borrowing power may be completely different tomorrow compared to yesterday. While it may be unpleasant to discuss, you need to get on the same page about how you feel about spending vs. savings, as well as issues that might not currently exist but could pop up in the future, such as separate property interests, debt, business interests, intellectual property rights or potential family gifts and inheritances.
Once you feel you have made sufficient progress on these talks, you need to put pen to paper. In this case, what I mean is not a one page term sheet that you both sign over drinks. What I am seriously asking you to consider is retaining attorneys to draft and review a multiple-paged contract, which clearly lays out your respective rights and obligations with respect to both property and any spousal support claims.
A prenup may not be romantic, but then again either was that first time you had to talk about past partners, STDs and birth control with your partner, yet somehow you made it through to this point, right? Let prudence prevail here, and while you have some time together to think through various contingency plans for your wedding, take a moment to also secure that happily ever after in the event life has a couple of more surprises in store for you.
By Regina A. DeMeo