Should You Make A Prenup Before You Tie The Knot?

Should You Make A Prenup Before You Tie The Knot

No one likes to think about the possibility of a relationship not working, especially during the excitement of planning a wedding and a life together. However, prenuptial agreements can come in handy if divorce does happen down the road.

A prenuptial agreement clarifies who has a right to what in the case that the marriage dissolves. Often, people assume that only people with considerable assets need to make a prenuptial agreement before they marry. However, while it can help in those instances, a prenup can help in many other cases as well. Here are some things to consider.

Do You Have Considerable Assets?

Without a prenup, once you get married, your personal property becomes the property of both you and your partner. This means you will need to split everything in half, whether your former spouse helped you obtain those assets or not. A prenup can establish that you retain ownership of certain properties, bank accounts, or possessions.

Do You Have Family Money?

If you work with your family or have assets gifted to you from your family, your family may insist on a prenup to ensure that their gift or money stays with you, no matter what happens in your marriage. Having that agreement in place can also help relieve tension between your spouse and your family throughout your married life.

Does Either Party Have Significant Debt?

When you get married, you not only combine money and assets but also debt. While you usually will not be held accountable for debt your spouse brings into the marriage, you could be liable for debt they incur while the two of you are married. This includes debt from credit cards, mortgages, and—in some cases—student loans.

With a prenup, you can help ensure that any debt accumulated during your marriage is paid for by the responsible party. This can help lessen the financial burden on yourself in the event of a divorce.

Do You Need Nonfinancial Agreements?

Prenups don't only clarify financial manners. In some cases, the prenup can also clarify what will happen in the case of infidelity, addiction, or other problems, especially if those were issues before the marriage.

A family law attorney can draw up an agreement that establishes contingencies for a wide variety of circumstances. For example, you may need to outline consequences for certain familial crimes or legal matters, or you may need a basic plan in place for how to handle potential life events, such as parents getting older and needing help.

Do You Have Children From A Previous Marriage?

Prenups don't only protect you but also the people you love. If you have children from a previous marriage, you may want a prenup to ensure that they don't end up financially neglected after an acrimonious divorce. The prenup can ensure that college funds or other money meant for children don't go to your ex after your marriage dissolves.

Keep in mind though that custody and child support for children or future children cannot be set in the prenup. You may be able to decide on certain minimums, but because life circumstances change, especially around divorce, these may not always be enforceable.

Do You Want To Eliminate Stress During Divorce?

Divorce will always be stressful. In addition to having to split assets, calculate total financials, and navigate the legalities of the process, you will also likely be dealing with hurt feelings and a wide range of emotions, spanning the spectrum from betrayal to anger to relief.

Ultimately, having a prenup in place helps limit the overall stress by taking some of the work off your plate. You will already have plenty to think about without worrying about the finances. Plus, having the finances clearly laid out makes the divorce process quicker (and less expensive).

If you’re considering a prenup or trying to decide if you need one, talk to an attorney that provides family law services. They can look at your circumstances and advise you on whether you should create a prenup and about what you should include in yours for your specific situation. Having a professional on your side can help make the process as smooth as possible.

Not everyone needs a prenup. Some people think that even discussing a prenuptial agreement shows a lack of faith in their partner or in their relationship. However, working with your partner to create a prenup can actually help prevent issues in your relationship and help the two of you learn how to work together better. Your prenup may never be needed, but if it is, you’ll likely be grateful to have it.

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