Relationships are both  beautiful and complicated at the same time. Some of them are meant to last and others tend to fade in time.However, nobody wants to think about divorce when they’re getting married. But, the reality is, there are never any guarantees in life — and, as with all things, it never hurts to be prepared. We took advice from a few experts in relationships: from psychologists to divorce lawyers. Here is a list of 10 things you should consider before getting married.

  1. Don’t try to change your spouse.

Are you ready to spend your entire life with all those quirks that drive you crazy? Good, because they aren’t going away. “Whether they’re major personality flaws or annoying little habits, it’s unrealistic to think that you’ll be able to change these traits in your spouse,” says Janet Battey, founding partner of Ferro & Battey in Darien, Connecticut. “Expecting otherwise will only set your relationship up for failure.”

2. Marriage is a legal contract.

Marriage is more than a change in relationship status — it’s a legal contract that changes the financial and legal interests of each spouse literally overnight,” says Lynn Myrick, a “divorce concierge” at Sodoma Law in Charlotte, North Carolina. “Most people wouldn’t enter into a contract has a significant impact on their day-to-day lives without fully understanding what they’re signing, but many people still tie the knot without fully realizing the legal impact. 

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3. Consider a prenup even if you’re not a superstar.

It could save you a lot of pain in the end. “I tell clients who are about to get married that if they don’t enter into a prenuptial agreement then they should have their head examined,” says Adam Edelstein Lawyer & Partner at The Edelsteins, Faegenburg & Brown in New York City. “Perhaps the most hotly contested issue in any divorce is the issue of spousal support or maintenance, formerly known as alimony. A clause in a prenup can put the issue to rest, leaving nothing litigate. The parties’ pre-marital assets can also be protected.”, adds Myrick.

4. The relatives won’t become more likeable after you marry. 

Remember, you’re going to marry him/her, but the family comes with it. “If you find yourself in conflict with your mother-in-law or hate the older brother, then this is not likely to change — in fact, it may get worse,” says Leigh Daniel of Leigh Daniel and Associates in Huntsville, Alabama. “Before you get married, you need to find peace with the way your spouse relates to his or her family.

5. Have the “I want kids’’ conversation.

“I wish people did more due diligence when it comes to their future spouse’s family before they get married, since this is where the person’s operating system gets installed,” says Michael Stutman, a founding partner of Stutman Stutman & Lichtenstein.

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6. You’re marrying their money — and debt — too.

“Financially speaking, a marriage creates one economic unit out of two,” says Andrew Samalin, director of the Association of Divorce Financial Planners. Anything earned during the marriage (paychecks, interest on savings, retirement funds, etc.) is considered marital funds and can be split up in the case of a divorce.

7. Divorce takes a long time and a lot of money.

Weddings are known for their crazy price tags, but it also costs a decent amount to undo those nuptials. “People can expect to pay between $300 and $500 an hour,” says Minion. “There are some [divorce] cases that can cost $5,000 or $15,000 if they’re settled quickly. And there are some that can cost many multiples of that.” Of course, every situation is different, but it could take a year or more finalize a divorce.

8. You divorce the person you were married to.

“Clients often come to me to modify a divorce decree telling me their ex is drinking around the kids, or won’t pay the bills they were ordered to pay,” Daniel says. “If I asked about how their ex acted during the marriage, it’s usually the same story: They drink too much, they don’t pay their bills. They aren’t going to get better after the divorce.”

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9. Lawyer vs Therapist.

“They want to explain why they’re getting divorced and to validate their reasons,” Minion says. But in reality, what brings them to court is irrelevant to the end result.” At that point, you’d be paying too much to attorneys to try and hash out who did what or what you’re feeling in their office.

10. Relationships don’t always end well. Prepare yourself.

“People are often surprised by the sense of loss, even if they are eager to start a new chapter,” says Abby Rosmarin, Esq., LMHC, a family mediator. “Change is often unsettling. At the very least, people go from married to divorced — although there are many steps in between.

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