One of the most frequent reasons given for divorce today is financial struggles and disagreements. To the extent that a couple is making different financial assumptions, it is likely that they will go through their marriage with some severe strains in this area. Here are some pre-marriage questions to help you start again.
The financial pressures of remarriage are frequently greater than a first marriage. This is because of alimony, child support, and a wide variety of second marriage complications. Caution: These questions need to be addressed somewhat delicately but, at the same time, openly and honestly.
Make doubly sure your assumptions are compatible in this area today, and you will be half as likely to divorce tomorrow!
Ask each other the following questions:
1. If we inherited a million dollars, what would you want to do with it? What percent of our income should we give to the church we attend? Why?
2. What percent of our income should we give to charitable organizations?
3. How much income would you like us to make (together) this next year?
4. How long do you expect both of us to continue working outside the home?
5. Where would you like to live in five years?
6. What do you think about credit cards? How many credit cards do you have now? What are the debts on each? Which cards should we continue to have (if any)?
7. Will our income support the standard of living to which we are accustomed? If not, what adjustments are we willing to make after the wedding?
8. What should we do with my car? Your car? What kind of car would you like to drive in five years? Ten years?
9. About how much should we spend on clothing a year? How much do we currently spend a month?
10. Should we change our checking account arrangements (joint versus separate accounts)?
11. Who should write the checks for our monthly bills? Who should balance the bank statement each month? Why?
12. If we need a larger (or smaller) house, when should we begin planning for it? How can we afford it?
13. Do you think our children should be given a car at age sixteen? Why or why not? If so, how expensive a car, and for what reason?
14. Do you think children should be given an allowance? If so, how much at ages five, ten, fifteen, twenty-one? If not, why not?
15. How much should we spend a year on luxury items such as jewelry, furs, athletic equipment, trips, etc.?
More Questions to Ask:
16. What percentage should we tip a server who does an outstanding job? A poor job? An average job?
17. How much should you have to pay to have your hair cut? Styled? What is a suitable tip for these services?
18. How much life insurance should we have? Health insurance? What company? Which agent?
19. How do you feel about borrowing money from our parents, friends, or relatives?
20. How do you feel about loaning money to our parents, friends, or relatives? What if they couldn’t pay it back?
21. What percent of our income would we be saving?
22. How would you have the most amount of fun if we only had five dollars to spend some evening?
23. How much should we spend on special occasions like:
• Birthdays: each other’s, parents, children, friends, others
• Anniversaries: our own, parents, friends, relatives, others
• Other special days: Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day
• Christmas: each other’s gift, parents, children, other relatives, coworkers, friends, Christmas tree, decorations
24. Who should do the gift buying for birthdays? Anniversaries? Christmas? Other special days?
25. How do you feel about declaring bankruptcy? Is it ever OK?
26. What should be the dollar limit on purchases made without the other person’s knowledge? Why?
27. What are your feelings about a monthly budget?
Additional Discussion Points and Questions:
28. Prioritize the following household items as to their importance to you.
____ Athletic equipment ____ Compact disc player ____ Color TV
____ Dining Room furniture ____ Food dehydrator ____ Dishwasher
____ Food processor ____ Hobby items ____ Freezer
____ Bedroom furniture ____ Living room furniture ____ Piano
____ Washer/Dryer ____ Microwave ____ Video camera
____ VCR or DVD player ____ Stereo system ____ Other: ________
29. What are your total financial obligations right now? Which debts should we try to reduce or eliminate first?
30. What are your financial obligations relating to alimony and child support?
31. What are your feelings about a will? How will each of our families be cared for in our new will?
32. What should the children inherit when we die? If there are children from separate families, how should our assets be distributed?
33. What investments do you have today? How do you see these investments after we are married? Who will manage them? Are they now a part of our will? Do you want to invest more money? How? When? [Key discussion at this point in the relationship].
34. How would you feel about paying bills that my former spouse created, and I am now obligated to pay?
Finally, Ask Each Other:
35. What was the financial settlement from your divorce? May I see your divorce papers?
36. How would you feel about facing financial pressures that may develop in the future relating to my previous marriage? (e.g., How would you feel about appearing in court several more times, costing $5,000 each time?)
37. What are your feelings about a prenuptial agreement? Do we need one to protect ourselves and our assets? [A prenuptial agreement is a written legal statement made prior to marriage, stating your intentions regarding each of your assets, debts, etc.]
38. Where should the child support money go? Into a general fund, a separate checking account specifically for the child, etc.?
39. Are you willing to pay for counseling for my children? Children who don’t live with us?
These thoughts are a portion of the questions that come from a small booklet titled, “Pre-Remarriage Questions: Helping You Start Again” by Bobb and Cheryl Biehl. It may still be available through Amazon.com as a used book, as it is no longer being published. As the authors say, “The questions in this book are designed to help you in the process of seeing your fiance so clearly that you make a wise decision in the choice of your lifemate.” We so agree that this is important to do before marriage. You can’t ask too many questions. You need to know all you’re possibly getting yourself into by marrying this person.
– ALSO –
Please click onto the Crosswalk.com link provided to find more questions on this topic:
If you have any additional tips you can share to help others, please “Join the Discussion” by adding your comments below.
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