10 Questions To Ask Before You Propose
1) DO YOU WANT CHILDREN? HOW MANY? HOW SOON?
This is one of those questions that normal people who decide to use a prenuptial agreement should be asking. Sometimes, sitting before you get married and discussing the potential for future children can be helpful. A prenuptial agreement is a great starting point for such a discussion. Either way, you should make sure that your partner is on the same page with regards to having children in the future, when, and how many your partner wants to have.
2) ARE YOU PLANNING TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL?
Knowing whether or not one party is planning to go back to school before you get married is really important. This is especially the case if you are planning to go back to school. Not knowing this information can lead to problems in the future, as one party might not expect the loss of income that can accompany someone going back to school. More importantly, in some states, degrees and licenses acquired during a marriage can be considered marital property. This means that your husband or wife would own your degree. A prenuptial agreement is one way to prevent your partner from a windfall in the event that you get a degree during your marriage and it subsequently fails and you get divorced. This is another reason normal people may need to consider a prenuptial agreement.
3) WHAT IS YOUR CREDIT SCORE? DO YOU HAVE JUDGMENTS AGAINST YOU?
Credit is a big deal in any relationship. No one wants to be in a situation where they can’t buy a house because their wife got her ex boyfriend a cell phone he didn’t pay for. You should ask your partner if they have any outstanding bills. One husband reports that it was after his marriage that he found out that his wife had just stopped paying her several hundred thousand dollars in student loans over a decade before they were married. That horrible discovery led to all sorts of problems, legal bills and judgments. Ask your spouse to be if he or she has any judgments outstanding or is subject to any. Judgments can lead to frozen bank accounts and seized assets, including cars. Having a conversation about money and credit before marriage can save a couple from many fights.
4) ARE YOU OVER YOUR EX?
Finding out whether your fiancee is still into his or her ex can prevent a divorce. While it may be uncomfortable to ask your significant other about his or her past, it is important. Many couples end up breaking up when one of the participants in the relationship is discovered to be engaging in behavior that centers around a former fling and/or significant other. Sometimes, being proactive and finding out whether such a problem could be an issue prior to getting married, can prevent huge legal bills and lots of wasted time.
5) WILL WE HAVE A JOINT BANK ACCOUNT?
This seems like a silly question, but it is a very important thing for people considering moving in together to discuss. This is especially true of people who get married. How will bills get paid? Will the parties split bills equally when they get married? Will the parties have one shared bank account after getting married or two separate bank accounts and a joint account into which funds to pay the couple’s bills will be deposited? Will there be one account, two separate accounts or two separate accounts and a joint account? Not sure? This is a big deal and should be decided prior to any engagement or marriage. In many states, a joint account is a gift of half of the funds deposited to the other party. That means that if you put $10,000 into a joint account, the other account holder instantly owns half, or $5,000. If that person withdraws the money and runs off, you may not have much of a remedy!
6) DO YOU WANT TO LIVE IN THE CITY OR SUBURBS?
Often people who grew up in the suburbs or in a small town, end up in the big city. You and your significant other may live in a big city now, but often, when people get married, they want to return to their roots. Before you get married or propose, you should discuss this phenomenon with your significant other. Do you know where he or she wants to live? Do you know where that person wants their children to grow up or how? Asking whether your significant other wants to live in the city or suburbs in the future can avoid a serious surprise in the future.
7) WILL YOUR PARENTS OR SIBLINGS MOVE IN?
Does your significant other have living parents? Do you? If either of your parents get sick, what will happen? Is there someone to take care of them? Where will they live? Will they have to move in with your family? Is that ok? Have you discussed it at all? Discussing these potential events before they occur can help to prevent serious fights that can destroy a relationship by placing great strain on parties during periods that are already pretty stressful. This is another area where being proactive really matters. This is another area in which regular people can use a prenuptial agreement to capture the couple’s wishes and expectations prior to marriage.
8) DO YOU HAVE ANY MEDICAL PROBLEMS?
“Till death do us part” is a long time. However, that might not be the case if the person you are marrying is sick. While it can seem horrible, asking about medical problems prior to getting engaged or getting married can better lead to one making an informed decision regarding the future prior to any nuptials. Further, if is important to find out if your potential significant other may have any medical problems or conditions that can be passed on to potential children or which can be passed to you.
9) DID YOU HAVE ANY PLASTIC SURGERY?
We all remember the story of the guy who sued his wife after having an ugly baby based on the fact that she had plastic surgery and did not tell him before they got married. It turns out, that story was probably FALSE. But don’t fret, that means this can still happen to you! Don’t be a fool. Be informed!
10) DO YOU HAVE A CRIMINAL RECORD? ANY PENDING CASES?
Knowing whether your significant other has a criminal record is important. Convictions can interfere with your significant other’s ability to get a job. Also, many people find out about sex offenses subsequent to getting married. Open warrants are another piece of information you should ask a potential spouse about. You should find out if the person has any open criminal cases. Traffic infractions and DWI convictions can lead to serious insurance premiums. However, criminal cases are not the only cases you should ask the person you intend to marry about. Civil cases are just as important and you should be able to candidly discuss any of these items with your fiancee or significant other.
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