Saturday, March 5, 2011

Step 8 - Decide on Pre-Marriage Counseling and/or Prenup Agreement

(9 Months to 24 Months Before Wedding)
Statistics show that one out of every two marriages will end in a divorce. One of the biggest problems in a lot of marriages that end in divorce is a positive role model for healthy relationships. For some couples, pre-marriage counseling helps bring about a discussion of issues that will likely come up during the marriage and when they occur, how to handle to tackle them hopefully leading to a stronger marriage.

Both nature and nurture play a part once you decide to be in a relationship. Habits learned and innate come to the surface and over time breed conflict. Conflict is not necessary unhealthy, it's a natural part of two people sharing their lives together. We live in a complicated and complex world, it's complicated enough for one person to survive in it. Bringing two lives into a marriage is infinitely more complicated. That is why a meaningful dialogue sets a solid foundation for marriage.

Much more planning typically goes into planning a wedding than into planning the marriage itself. There is nothing wrong with making the wedding as special as possible, it is also important to put a lot of time and energy to ensure the relationship succeeds. You can improve the odds of a successful marriage with good conflict resolution and good communication skills. You are wise to get yourself a relaxed and quiet setting to discuss and understand each other's viewpoints on important matters before walking down the aisle.

Pre-marriage counseling sessions generally address issues that will come up in your marriage, Are you looking to have children or no children? What are your career plans? Where would you like to live and settle? What are your financial arrangements? Do you want to keep your finances together or separate? What are your long term financial goals? What are and how will you handle your religious convictions? What religious upbringing do you plan for your children? How will you handle conflicts that arise? These and many more issues get addressed when talking to an officiant or a marriage counselor.

If at least one person in a relationship procrastinates or avoids talking about these issues, then pre-marriage counseling may be worthwhile. It can be a forum where the focus is on the relationship and help broach difficult subjects. Besides discussing how to handle your finances, discussions occur on how much attention should you devote to each other, how much space to give each other, what habits each other has and might it pose a problem with the other, and so on. A pre-marriage counseling discussion is a session that helps the couple to know each other a little better and communicate with each other so there is less conflict in the marriage and hopefully to a long happy marriage.

As for a prenuptial agreement (prenup agreement for short), is a written contract created by two people before they are married whereby the couple lists all of the property each person owns (as well as debts) and specifies what each person's property rights will be after the marriage. "Prenups", often are used to protect the assets of a wealthier fiance or provides protection from extenuating circumstances.

Some of the reasons for getting a prenup agreement are to allow children from a prior marriage to gain property or assets in the event of a death, divorce, or a move to an assisted living facility.  The prenup also spells out the business interests of a business, if one spouse owns or runs a business and protects the assets of a wealthier spouse, and provide protection from the other spouse's debts.

Courts today do scrutinize prenups, it is important that you negotiate and write up your agreement in a way that is clear and understandable and legally sound. If you should draft a prenuptial agreement, it is recommended each partner have separate lawyers review it and provide legal counsel on it's content.

Both pre-marriage counseling and pre-nuptial agreements are not requirements in getting married but are there if one of the partners feels there is need to make the marriage stronger. A good marriage is a 50/50 proposition, each partner must learn to communicate and compromise and these programs are there if either couple feels the need.

See you on the other side (tomorrow)!

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