Planning for Marriage: Financial Tips for Women

Planning for marriage should involve more than just picking out invitations and deciding whether you should serve chicken or fish at the reception. More importantly, you'll want to take a look at how marriage will impact your financial situation. And while there are a number of issues you'll need to think about, careful planning can increase the likelihood that you'll have financial success as you enter this new chapter in your life.

Consider a prenuptial agreement

If either you or your future spouse has or may inherit substantial assets, or if either of you has children from previous marriages, you may want to consider a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is a binding contract between future spouses that defines the rights, duties, and obligations of the parties during marriage and in the event of legal separation, annulment, divorce, or death. A prenuptial agreement typically addresses the following areas:

  • Assets and liabilities--What assets will each of you bring into the marriage? What liabilities do each of you have (e.g., credit card/mortgage debt)?

  • Contributions of each partner--Will there be particular consideration given for special contributions that either of you make (e.g., one spouse limiting his or her career)?

  • Divorce--If you and your future spouse divorce, will there be alimony or a lump-sum payment? How will you divide assets purchased from joint funds?

  • Estate planning--Who gets what at the death of either spouse?

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