Let’s talk about the thing that everyone wants to know about, but no one is talking about…prenups. Prenups, or prenuptial agreements, have a stigma of being just for the rich and famous. While it can come in handy for those lavish lifestyles, that is certainly not the only case in which these are used.
Thousands of couples with average incomes decide to get prenups before they walk the aisle. According to Brandon Gaille, 44% of singles believe that having a prenup is a good idea before entering into a marriage. Many couples in healthy relationships see it as a financial safety net that takes the stress out of sharing assets with your partner.
Let’s define what exactly a prenup is.
A prenuptial agreement is defined as, “an agreement made between two people before marrying that establishes rights to property and support in the event of divorce or death.” Essentially, this is a written contract created before marriage to protect your property and money if the partnership were to end.
So does getting a prenup mean you are planning a divorce before you plan the wedding? Not necessarily.
There is a common misconception that prenuptial agreements mean you are anticipating your marriage to end badly. But this is not the case for many people. Think of prenups like health insurance. You’re not getting health insurance anticipating something awful will happen to you, but rather being prepared in the event that something does happen. It’s simply being realistic and responsible in case of a future life event.
Is getting a prenup the most romantic way to start your marriage? Of course not.
It can be awkward and uncomfortable for the both of you. But it can also take extra financial stress off the relationship. A prenup is insuring your independence in the event that you decide to part ways. It’s not that you plan on ever leaving this person, but just an extra safety net that will make you both to feel more comfortable. When it comes to marriage, financial decisions are forced upon couples. This is just another one of the many decisions you will have to face as you enter this new chapter in your life.
If you and your partner can have a financial discussion about these “what if” scenarios, it’s only going to help your trust and communication skills grow stronger.
How do you get a prenup?
To get a prenup, each partner must use their own lawyer. It is important to do research on your state’s laws regarding what assets are and aren’t allowed. Also, factor in that prenuptial agreements cost around $2,500 per person. Once you have your partner’s consent, a lawyer, and enough to pay the fee, the dreaded tedious portion begins.
You will spend most of your time laying out your assets, debts, income, and future financial gains. You and your partner will have to make some tough decisions when it comes to things like cars, property, and other high value items. Take your time with these decisions and make sure you both are comfortable with the division of the assets.
Things to consider:
You can still take ownership over your assets with a postnuptial agreement if you are already married
You can also choose whether or not to have an expiration date on your agreement
Pets count as property under most prenup laws
You cannot provide who gets custody over children
Should You Get A Prenup?
Ultimately, this decision is up to you and your partner. For some couples, this adds extra comfort to their relationship, while for others it only adds stress. It’s important to have an open discussion about this with your future spouse to decide if this is something that would work for you.
You should consider a prenup if:
You have lucrative assets (property, stock, inheritance, etc.)
There is a large income gap between you and your partner
You will possibly inherit money in the future
You want to ensure children inherit your assets
Having security would make you more comfortable in your relationship
It’s important to remember, this is a “just in case” scenario. Once you finalize the prenup, you can go back to sharing your life together. There are many pros and cons when it comes to prenuptial agreements. However, they can be a safety net that helps you feel more secure in your relationship. Having these tough conversations can help you and your partner talk through some financial “what ifs” that may help benefit you going forward.
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