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More to ask after popping the question

Asking for marriage is not the only question engaged couples should pose. Financial issues can become another unromantic party to a romantic relationship and are one of the top reasons for divorce. Seeking information on each other's financial status is essential and may lead to consideration of the benefits of a prenuptial agreement.

These issues are easier to discuss before the couple marries. Couples should schedule a time to calmly and candidly discuss their income, credit scores, debts, savings and checking account balances and spending habits. This can help couples set expectations for the assets they bring to their marriage and for assuming their financial burdens.

Each party should also disclose their financial obligations such as alimony, child support, support for aging family members and student loans. Couples may wish to liquidate this debt together for unity.

However, a spouse is not liable for any student loan debt acquired by their spouse before marriage. Nonetheless, both spouses may have their tax returns garnished if either one of them defaults on a student loan. Couples should develop a plan to resolve this debt together and start saving that sum once that debt is liquidated.

Couples also face the question of whether they should set up joint accounts, separate their assets or do both once they are married. In a study, 42 percent of couples had joint accounts and maintained their own accounts.

Prenuptial agreements are being used more to address these issues and for asset protection of retirement accounts and pensions. Prenups protect pre-marital assets and any property or income acquired during marriage if a spouse dies or the couple divorces. These agreements are also helpful for couples who are blending families or remarrying.

A prenup may have drawbacks and take a toll on romance. Each person should seek legal advice to discuss this option and help draft a valid agreement that complies with Texas law.

Source: Yahoo Finance, "4 tough but essential money questions all couples should discuss before tying the knot," By Jeanie Ahn, Dec. 1, 2017

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