Before You Say "I Do", Chat With A Lawyer

10:10 AM, Feb 14, 2013   |    comments
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If you don't "feel the love" this Valentine's Day, you're not alone. It's not always rainbows and butterflies in relationships. So, before you dive in head-first, talk to a lawyer. It could save you even more heartbreak after a heartbreak.

Good Morning Show co-host Eric Chilton talked with Larry Bodine, Editor-in-Chief of about some of the most asked love legal questions.

In a split, who keeps the engagement ring?

"An engagement ring is a conditional gift that's given in contemplation of marriage," said Bodine. "So, in a majority of states, if there's no wedding, the person who received the ring has to give it back."


If the ring receiver is the jilted party, she can keep it in California, Texas and Washington.

Montana law states that an engagement ring is an absolute gift. There is no need to return the ring after a split.

Why prenups aren't just for the rich and famous

There are several instances in which a couple would want to bring up the conversation of a prenuptial agreement.

"[It] would make sense if there's a family heirloom that you want to keep with the original family line." said Bodine. "It comes up if you want to set aside separate assets for aging parents, and you want to make sure those assets don't become a part of the estate during a divorce."

Another example would be if one person is a co-owner of a business. It is a good idea to notify the other owners to keep the business from being split in the instance of a divorce.

The impact divorce has on children

There is no doubt children are a major factor during a split. Larry Bodine said there are ways to make sure they're protected financially.

"If your dad is going to get married, and there's a grandfather clock, and your dad wants to make sure his grandson gets it, it's exactly the sort of thing you would deal with a prenuptial agreement," said Bodine.

How not to get duped when dating on the Internet

"You do need to be aware there is a lot of fraud involved with online dating," said Bodine.

His advice, treat these relationships like business meetings. Do a Google search on them, check their Facebook page and review all of their social media profiles.

"You wouldn't believe how much incriminating information people put online about themselves."

How finances are divided after a split

Any investments that are created during the course of the marriage are considered as community property, according to Bodine. One of the key issues during a divorce settlement is who will keep the retirement benefits. Again, talking about finances before the wedding is a good idea.

Upsides to getting married

  • Married people can file joint tax returns
  • A married spouse is eligible to receive health insurance through his/her partner's employment health insurance plan
  • If a spouse dies without a will, most states provide that the surviving spouse will inherit the entire marital estate.


WFMY News 2

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