5 Legal Questions Every Person Should Ask Before Marriage
Marriage is a serious commitment that comes with even more serious legal consequence for both you and your partner. With the divorce rate being at an all time high, it is increasingly important that you fully understand these consequences prior to entering into such a commitment. Listed below are five basic questions you should address and know the answers to before taking your vows and saying I do.
1. Are you willing to sign a prenuptial agreement?
Contrary to popular belief, a prenuptial agreement is not just for the rich and famous. In fact, a prenup can be designed for people of all income levels and potentially save both you and your spouse from a financial migraine in the event of a divorce. Prenups stipulate in writing exactly how you’d like your property divided. Although this might not be the most romantic and preferred method of beginning your lives together , the sad likelihood of divorce makes it almost a necessity.
2. Should you change your name?
Unlike the olden days, more and more women are choosing to keep their own name, hyphenate the names, or come up with completely new ones. Any name change after marriage constitutes a legal name change. Before automatically defaulting to what couples have traditionally done, be sure you are happy with whatever surname you both choose and know the implications.
3. Do you have a criminal record?
Discussion of prior criminal history is not the most comfortable conservation you will have with your spouse to be. However, the criminal past of your spouse has significant implications on your future together. Your spouse may think their past indiscretions are not relevant anymore, but it’s important both of you are honest.
4. How much debt do you have?
Many economic experts have described your credit score rating to be even more important that your Social Security number. As such, the debt accrued by your spouse in addition to his or her credit score could significantly impact your future lives. Debtors may be able to collect against the joint property of a new marriage and your combined credit score could affect loan applications.
5. How will we manage pre- and marital property?
In a community property state such as Arizona, most property acquired during the life of the marriage considered marital or community property. Property obtained prior to the marriage remains your separate property. However, this property may loose its separate nature if proven to be intertwined enough within the marital estate. As such, it can become difficult or even impossible to legally determine which of your property is separate or marital. Deciding beforehand which property you’d like to keep separate will help make it easier to differentiate in the event of divorce.
With the divorce rate reaching record highs, it is highly important that you and your partner engage in premarital planning. As such, you are advised to seek the assistance of an experienced family law attorney to help guide you through the process. With over 30 years of combined experience, the attorneys at Lasiter & Jackson will aggressively represent your interests in any premarital planning matters. Contact us today to schedule a free 30-minute consultation.