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Carefully look at your assets before marriage

Before getting married, it's wise to take a long hard look at your assets and the assets of your prospective spouse, according to some who have been through both marriage and divorce. That way, if you want to protect yourself financially, you can consider a prenup.

One man said that he had mutual funds, stocks and a car before he got married, for example. He claimed the value of his assets was about $20,000, and he also had around the same amount in debt from his student loans. On top of it, he'd been given an inheritance.

His wife, on the other hand, had only a car to her name. She also had student loans creating $130,000 in debt. They did not get a prenup, even though it was clear that his balance was far higher than hers.

The man said he was in love, trusting and naïve. Years later, after his wife's spending went out of control and they split up, he lost half of his inheritance and his other assets. Everything had been titled in both of their names.

He had assumed that the marriage would not end. After the fact, he regretted this decision, not having realized how differently he and his wife looked at money.

Now, prenups may not be for everyone. Whether you're getting divorced with one or without, though, this story shows just how important it is to understand your rights and obligations when dividing assets and debts. You need to know what legal steps you can take to protect yourself and your future.

Source: The Billfold, "When Things Fall Apart: The Cost of Divorce," Peter Pacer, accessed March 24, 2017

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