Advice to consider before marrying your partner

February 14, 2013 5:07:06 PM PST
Today is a popular day to pop the question as thousands of lovebirds like to mark Valentine's Day by getting engaged.

But before you get swept in the romance of it all, you should brush up on the legalities of love.

No one likes to think their love won't last forever, but the reality is, almost half, 41 percent of marriages end in divorce.

So before you say "I do" you better know how things "work", when things "don't work" out .

Marriage gives you a right to your spouses social security benefits should you not grow old together and most states give assets to a spouse even without a will.

Whether your proposal is real or reality show what happens to that diamond encrusted engagement ring if you don't make it down the aisle?

"Here in New York and the tri-state area it's considered a conditional gift, have to give it back," said Larry Bodine, with

Bodine says that rule holds true in the majority of states: The ring gets returned to the buyer.

But in California, Texas, and Washington state: The person who was dumped gets the ring.

And only in the state of Montana is the ring considered a present with no strings.

Before you tie the knot, Larry advises to first protect yourself with a prenup.

"A lot of people think that's just for holly wood types and for really wealthy people, but actually it comes into play a lot for ordinary folks," adds Bodine.

Four things fiances forget to consider are:

  • Elderly parents: You may want to set aside separate assets to support them
  • Family heirlooms: Putting them in a prenup will make sure it stays with the original family.
  • And exclude a partner's previous debt - so if you split up you won't get stuck paying for it.
  • Also if you own part of a business spell out what happens to your share in a divorce. And if you're love does last till death do you part, partner in gay marriages should take extra precautions stay in the states that recognize gay marriage or you could lose everything when your spouse dies.

    Larry's last bit of advice, if you're ready to leave single life behind, when you get married, be married couple who divide responsibility up tend to split up more often.

    Marriage gives you a right to your spouse's social security benefits should you not grow old together and most states give assets to a spouse even without a will.

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