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Valentine's Day reminder: Money matters in love, Part 2

This year's St. Valentine's Day has already come and gone. Maybe you found a love interest this holiday or confirmed that your current valentine is a keeper. In that case, it's important that we continue our discussion from the last post about how to plan for and protect your finances in relation to marriage and divorce.

Whereas learning about asset division is crucial for anyone in, considering, or getting out of a marriage, debt division is also a reality of marriage - as unromantic as it is to think about. Luckily, Texas law generally doesn't hold you responsible for debt that your partner accumulated individually before saying "I do." But there is a complication to that point.

You and your spouse undoubtedly will build up joint assets during your marriage, and the value of those assets can be targeted by creditors if your spouse owes money. That means that your spouse's independent debt can be a threat to the assets you work hard to earn and share during the marriage and anything else you add your spouse's name to. The debts taken out of your community property will affect how much is left to be divided upon a potential divorce.

Therefore, while you are still possibly glowing over the romance found or rekindled this Valentine's Day, don't let the chocolates, love notes, flowers and certainly an engagement ring make you forget to think about your partner's financial situation and habits. Loving someone despite their weaknesses sounds romantic, but marriage is a legally binding commitment that wraps you up in your partner's sometimes irresponsible, expensive behaviors. One way to prevent that from happening and costing you money is by creating a prenuptial agreement before walking down the aisle.

Source

TODAY Show: "By my Valentine! Um, what's your credit score," The Associated Press, 10 Feb. 2011

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