Getting Married? Download Our Pre-Marriage Checklist

Why should you take marriage advice from divorce lawyers?  We like to think it’s similar to taking advice about avoiding a heart attack from a cardiologist, or avoiding cancer from an oncologist.  We know why marriages end, and have some savvy advice for those willing to listen about how to AVOID DIVORCE and have your best marriage!  After all, marriage can be an amazing experience when you are both willing to work at the marriage, and work on yourselves.

The fact is that people enter marriage thinking that “love will be enough.”  The reality is that the “feelings of love” will wax and wane over the course of a lifetime together, and the commitment of love must be protected and nurtured.

While it is not romantic to talk about the legal implications of a marriage relationship, it is critical for both individuals entering into the marriage to understand that there is a whole body of law that applies to your marriage.  Engaged couples are oftentimes surprised to learn about the various rules that the State of Texas has already applied to their marriage

What if you don’t like these rules that the state legislators have applied to your marriage?  Then you have options.  Many couples decide to enter into a premarital agreement so they can decide together how they want their affairs handled.  They have the power to choose:  1) who will have what property rights, 2) how they will handle debts and liabilities, 3) what protections are in place when the marriage ends (either by death or divorce).  Does everyone need a premarital agreement?  Absolutely not.  The laws applying to married couples work fine in most situations.  Nevertheless, it is a good idea to know what those laws are, and how they will impact your life together. WACH OUR PODCAST EPISODE WITH AIMEE KEY .

If you are newly engaged, or thinking about marriage, we have created a free simple checklist for you and your partner to go through that will guide meaningful conversations and help you make decisions that will benefit your marriage over the years. We have often found that a by-product is that the relationship is actually strengthened by this process and gives the couple comfort knowing they have a plan for the future.

In general, the checklist identifies a few categories.

PRE-MARRIAGE COUNSELING

There is never a better time to address personal issues, mental health, and interpersonal issues than before you get married.  While the lovey-dovey stage of a relationship and the excitement of a wedding feels wonderful, there will be stumbling blocks ahead. Being married doesn’t magically fix any challenges that you may be going through personally or with each other.

Investing in pre-marital counseling together, or individual therapy is a great resource for a couple about to embark on a life together.  One of the most popular episodes on The Jennifer Hargrave Show has been the episode with licensed therapist Ryan Waller. They address the topic of why tough conversations are so meaningful to the healing process.Exploring those difficult topics in a supportive setting can lead to understanding and common ground before times get tough.

FINANCIAL PLANNING

It’s a known fact that one of the leading factors in causing divorces is a couple’s finances.  A wide variety of topics are factors: disparities in income, approaches to savings, incurring debts, saving for retirement, purchasing life insurance, managing an inheritance, business ownership, etc. There are a lot of ways that financial decisions can come into play during a marriage and cause friction.

We believe that the best time to address and anticipate potential sources of disagreement is while you are madly in love!  Having these conversations before you are married will take a lot of stress off of entering into a marital relationship, and allow you build a foundation of  agreements while you are clear headed. Financial planning is one of the main reasons that pre-marital agreements have seen a sharp uptick with the millennial generation.  

CONFLICT RESOLUTION

Finally, one of the biggest opportunities for an engaged couple to start off in a great position is to address how they approach decision making.  It may be hard to imagine it now, but throughout your marriage, you will be presented with a wide variety of decisions to be made, some of them very tough decisions. Working through the preparation of a premarital agreement provides the opportunity to learn conflict resolution skills that can prove to be invaluable as you navigate conflict through your marriage. Also, making the decision now to anticipate any potential bumps in your relationship  and working with a family lawyer to craft a clear premarital agreement can include pre-emptive decisions, avoiding future conflict on those issues altogether. 

CONCLUSION

If you are considering marriage, we are excited for you and your soon to be spouse!  Our hope is that this simple checklist will give the two of you different topics of conversation that will help you explore starting your marriage off on common ground. If you have children, there will be many decisions regarding their education, extra-curricular activities, potential trusts, and their own property. If you inherit funds or property, navigating an estate with various family members involved can be complex and potentially challenging, and determining how your inheritance will be managed within your marriage can add to that stress. Exploring potential decisions around what to do if one or both of the spouses should find themselves disabled or unable to provide for the family, can put your mind at ease already knowing how those issues will be handled.

We are well-versed in all of the potential ways a healthy, robust premarital agreement can positively impact a marriage and protect both of you, your children, your inheritance, and your business.  Take a look at the free checklist below, and feel free to reach out to us with any questions. If you are ready to engage a family law firm for help navigating a Prenuptial Agreement, we’re here to help!

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Hargrave Family Law

We’ll work hard on your behalf to safeguard what matters most to you: your family, assets, and future.

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