Is there a more romantic day for a marriage proposal than Valentine’s Day? Every year, around 6 million couples plan to propose or expect to be proposed to on Valentine’s Day, according to credit card giant American Express. In fact, they estimate about half of the couples that will get engaged by the end of the year will pop the question on February 14th.
But getting engaged isn’t all diamonds and roses. Before you get swept away in romance, here are three legal issues you need to consider when you’re popping the question:
1. Engagement Ring Law.
An engagement ring is a pretty big investment, both emotionally and financially. So if you decide to call off the wedding, where does that investment go?
Texas considers engagement rings to be a “conditional gift,” meaning it doesn’t actually belong to you until the condition – marriage – is met. That makes it sound like it automatically goes back to the giver if the engagement is called off, but it’s a little more complicated than that.
If an engagement is broken, the ring goes to whoever was not at fault in the breakup. So if a man’s fiance calls off the wedding because she finds out he cheated on her, she gets to keep the ring. But if she called it off for no particular reason, he gets it back.
But even if you get the ring back, don’t expect your money back. If you can resell the ring, you might be lucky to get half of what you paid for it. Online jewelry resale outlet IDoNowIDont.com says that sellers can hope to recoup 50 to 75 percent of the original cost, and that’s before the 15 percent commission the site charges. If you sell to a jewelry store or pawn shop, expect an even lower return for that pre-owned ring.
2. Texas Is A Community Property State.
If you’ve been single for awhile, you might be used to the idea that what you earn belongs to you. But once you’re wed, the state of Texas considers everything you earn to be community property, meaning it belongs equally to you and your spouse. If you and your spouse-to-be have dramatically different earning power or assets, that may prove problematic down the road. To protect yourself, you need a prenup. For more on how a prenup can help and who needs one, read more at Do you Need a Prenup? 3 Signs.
3. Legal Conversations To Have With Your Fiance.
While you’re dating, it’s easy to focus on the romance and avoid the hard conversations. But now that you’re getting married, it’s time to have some important conversations that include the legal aspects of your relationship.
Here are some of the important topics you need to start talking about before you tie the knot:
Debt. With rising debt, many young people enter marriage with some serious financial baggage. Make sure you know exactly how much debt your partner has and that you’re willing to take it on.
Children. Do you want children? Does your spouse? How many and when? While it may seem far off in the future, make sure you and your partner agree about the issue of children before getting married. What seems like just an idea now could turn out to be a custody or child support battle down the road.
Previous relationships. Has your fiance been previously married or engaged or do they have children with someone else? Make sure you’ve talked through their previous romantic and family commitments before making one of your own.
Estate Planning. After you get married is a great time to get a will and other legal documents in place. But talking about your estate planning can start now. Talking about how you would want your assets divided or your medical wishes and preferences isn’t the most romantic topic, but it’s an important aspect of planning for your future.
So if you’re planning on popping the question this Valentine’s Day, make sure you’ve thought through these issues first. And remember that Texas Legal’s independent and group legal insurance plans include family membership, meaning you can add your spouse to your policy for an affordable cost and both enjoy the peace of mind that comes from the best legal protection in the Lone Star State!