Protect Your Future by Having the "Money Talk" Before You Marry

More and more financial experts are suggesting that prospective spouses should add a footnote to their marriage proposals - I love you, let's get married! (...but first, let's talk about money.)

This is nothing short of excellent advice, even though that first financial conversation might feel a bit awkward.

Virginia divorce lawyers see far too many couples whose financial problems ultimately destroy their marriage. To make matters worse, sometimes people who worked a lifetime to build up financial security end up losing nearly all of it in a divorce.

Before getting married, every couple needs to have two important - and completely honest - conversations about money. In the first, they should discuss their attitudes and experiences with money and make a financial plan for their marriage. In the second, they need to agree on the terms of a prenuptial agreement.

Have a Frank Talk About Finances

In a recent survey, one in three spouses admitted to lying to their partner about money. Over time, even little deceptions can cause great strains in a marriage and ultimately lead to divorce.

You can help prevent money woes from ruining your marriage by making a financial plan before you wed. The first step is for each partner to be completely honest about their finances - for example, what debts do each of you have? Have either of you ever declared bankruptcy? Do either of you have significant assets or savings? What are your credit scores?

Then, decide how you will handle your finances as a couple. Will you pool all of your income or keep separate accounts? Who will be responsible for financial management tasks like paying bills, keeping an eye on bank accounts and managing investments? How will you meet your long term financial goals?

Get a Prenuptial Agreement

Unfortunately, this conversation can only do so much. Sometimes marriages break up, and couples would be wise to take steps to protect themselves in case this happens.

The best way to do this is with a prenuptial agreement. These agreements describe how assets will be distributed in the event the marriage ends in divorce.

Prenuptial agreements aren't just for the rich and famous. They are an important tool for anyone who wishes to protect even a modest amount of assets.

Prenuptial agreements can be especially helpful in situations where one partner owns a business, expects to receive an inheritance or is supporting a spouse that is pursuing an education. Prenuptial agreements can also offer protection if one spouse secretly racks up significant debt.

Once you've reached a financial agreement, contact a Virginia family law attorney who can put your plan into action. A little prevention now can save you from a lot of potential pain down the road.