Before you head to the chapel, though, make sure you and your betrothed find time to sit down and discuss one of the most important issues affecting married couples: family finances. Study after study shows financial difficulties are the leading cause of divorce, which makes it vital to talk before wedding bells start ringing.
Joshua Kadish, a financial adviser at the RPG-Life Transition Specialists wealth management firm in Northbrook, Ill., says the conversation should start with each spouse opening up about there they stand financially, so there no big surprises later.
"Few people speak about the link between finance and relationships, yet money often acts as a major contributing factor to divorce," Kadish says. "Understanding how to navigate through financial challenges and preparing for the future will allow you to build a strong financial foundation for your relationship."
Here are Kadish's suggestions on areas to cover first:
Credit score. Lousy credit may be a harbinger of financial problems, so if one spouse has a credit score below 600, for example, it's best to examine the underlying issues and create a plan to fix them, probably by reducing spending and paying down debt.
Annual income. Once marriage nears reality there's no need to hold back on discussing annual incomes. You'll need both annual income figures to determine what kind of house you can afford and how the bills will be paid. "Don't forget to take into consideration a partner who makes significantly more or has a commission-based income," Kadish says.