Congratulations on your engagement!
Next up: wedding planning and all the other shenanigans that come with marriage. While there are several fun tasks to complete before you tie the knot, there’s also the not-so-fun stuff. This includes the discussion about whether you should get a prenuptial agreement.
Let’s be honest for a moment: No one wants to talk about things going wrong in a marriage. However, the divorce rate is incredibly high. This is definitely a discussion that you need to have. It will save you a ton of money and headaches should things go wrong.
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So, should you get a prenup? We've taken a look at the pros and cons.
What Exactly Is a Prenup?
Before you weigh the pros and cons, you need to understand what a prenup is.
A prenuptial agreement is, “a written contract created by two people before they marry [that] lists all of the property each person owns (as well as any debts) and specifies what each person's property rights will be after the marriage,” according to NOLO.com.
It’s also an ideal way to prevent the state from determining where your property goes in the event of divorce or death.
The Case for Prenups
1. You Have a Lot of Money
For whatever reason, you have a good amount of money to your name, and you would hate for Prince Charming or Snow White to take you on a wild ride and then clean you out. Unfortunately, it happens all the time. Even more unfortunately, the good guy (or gal) always gets the shorter end of the stick. In some cases, you can see the writing on the wall, but once the deal is sealed without a prenup, you’re in for it.
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2. Or You're in Debt
You don’t really want your sweetie-pie to be responsible for large debts you incurred before the marriage, do you? Well, if you don’t make that clear in a prenup and the two of you decide to go your separate ways later on, your massive debt-load could also become your (former) partner’s responsibility.
3. Do It for the Children
If you have children from a previous marriage and want to ensure that they have rights to some of your property when you pass away, spell out your wishes in a prenup. That way, your children won’t be left with nothing. Additionally, your surviving spouse will avoid backlash from angry family members.
4. And All the Little Things
Contrary to popular belief, prenuptial agreements span beyond the division of assets should you get divorced.
Pre-nups can also dictate things like who will manage the household expenses and how much money your significant other will be entitled to if you cheat. (Yes, I’m serious about the last point — it’s referred to as an infidelity clause.)
If you feel like verbal agreements won’t suffice for the little things, it’s best to get it in writing. A prenup may be extreme, but it beats nightly shouting matches at the dinner table.
The Case Against Prenuptial Agreements
1. Trust Issues, Anyone?
If you want a prenuptial agreement but your sweetie-pie doesn’t agree, you could potentially rock the boat before it even sets sail.
Simply put, your partner may feel like you don't trust him or her to do the right thing if all hell breaks loose.
That’s no way to start off a healthy marriage, but it is what it is.
2. Are You In It to Win It?
Your partner may think otherwise if you’re adamant about getting a prenuptial agreement or backup plan. Plus, there’s less pressure to stay when you know what will come off your divorce — at least from a financial perspective. Either way, to the other half, demanding a prenup can be a huge red flag.
Should I Get a Prenup? The Bottom Line
I have experience working with couples on both ends of the financial spectrum. I can assure you that there’s no one-size-fits-all answer to the question of prenuptial agreements. Sometimes it could look like a “damned if you do damned if you don’t” situation. But it’s a question that an increasing number of couples struggle with before they say, “I do.”