If you’re planning on getting married this year, you may be thinking about getting a prenuptial agreement. If so, you would not be alone. More and more people have requested prenups in the past few years. Here are five simple reasons why you should consider a prenuptial agreement before you get married.
Prepare for the Worst
While I have written on the topic of prenuptial agreements before, U.S. News and World Report offers an article with some pros and cons about prenups you may want to consider. For example, entering a prenup can help you prepare for the worst.
If you watched your parents’ divorce – or have close friends who have divorced – you understand that divorce can happen to anyone.
What you may want to consider is that divorce can be planned for, so that its consequences are less severe on you. For example, a prenup can eliminate stressful issues relating to alimony, property division and your inheritance.
Protection from Debt
A prenup can also protect you from your spouse’s debt. Debt is probably one of the most common reason for a prenup with people going through first-time marriages. Sadly, part of divorce means taking care of debt that was incurred during the divorce.
In a perfect world, both people walk away responsible for the debts they created. Unfortunately, that is not the law.
The problem with debt is especially important today considering how much student debt people are carrying. No one wants to get divorced and add their ex’s graduate school debt to their own. A prenup can help you in dividing debts before they become a problem.
A prenup forces you to commit to full transparency when it comes to talking about your finances.
If you openly talk about a prenup, chances are you’ll become better as a couple at discussing details about your finances and other concerns about marriage.
During your conversations with your future spouse, you may also learn some important things about your partner. You may, for example, find out before the wedding that the person you’re going to marry has numerous lawsuits and years of unpaid taxes, what your role as a parent will be, and other issues.
A prenuptial agreement can protect valuable assets you want to stay in your family. For example, your grandmother’s diamond ring, that has been in a family for generations, and has acquired a personal significance and sentiment far beyond its market value, could be an heirloom you want to add to an agreement.
A prenup is meant to govern how assets such as investments, grandmother’s diamond ring, and property will be handled if after the marriage you decide to divorce.
Because of the importance of a prenup, if your future spouse comes to you with a prenup, and you haven’t been involved in writing it, you’ll want to bring in your own attorney.
Focus on Your Future
A prenup forces you to focus on the future. This may be a prenup’s biggest advantage and disadvantage. You are able to decide now how to handle and prepare for a future event.
The problem of course, is that no one knows what the future will bring. One person can leave a marriage much wealthier than the other. Or it could go the other way, and you could be contracted to pay your partner far more than you’re able.
That uncertainty about the future doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get a prenup. Generally, if you or your partner has a lot to lose in a possible divorce, you should consider getting a prenup. If you own a business, have a large retirement account or assets you want to pass onto your children, a prenup is essential.
The US News and World Report article is here.