We anonymously surveyed participants via women’s facebook groups about love and relationships with the question “Did you get a prenup? If you’re not married, would you? Why or why not?” and then we picked through their answers looking for trends + anonymized their responses. Here is what we found.
The Main Reasons Real People Get Prenups
We received over 70 responses to our query, then we went through the data on respondents who want to get or already have prenups in order to learn what motivated them.
- The strongest motivator was the need to protect their assets or inheritances, with 33% of respondents mentioning this reason.
- 21% of the women who commented cited wanting to have a contingency plan just in case for that ‘what-if’ that no one plans on.
- 11% focused on not wanting an ex-spouse to reap the benefits of their hard work.
- 9% wanted to protect assets specifically for their children or other family members.
- 7% felt that significant differences in the assets brought to the marriage by each party is reason for a prenup.
- Interestingly, multiple respondents (5%) used insurance as a metaphor for a prenup, explaining that you don’t get insurance because you plan to get sick, you get it on the off chance you might get sick; similarly, you don’t get a prenup because you plan to get divorced.
- Another 5% told stories of not having gotten a prenup in previous marriages, and regretting it.
- Finally, a further (very insightful) 5% of respondents mentioned the importance of setting forth a contingency plan while the relationship is amicable, because making the kinds of decisions laid out in prenups later, only if the relationship goes downhill, will likely result in worse outcomes for both spouses.
Individual respondents also gave the following reasons:
-If one’s partner was not in the picture while they were working hard to build their success, then a prenup should be arranged because those assets rightfully belong to the individual who earned them.
-One participant would get a prenup specifically in order to include clauses defining and putting in place financial consequences for mistreatment (such as infidelity).
-One person really grasped the point of prenups amazingly well when she said not that she would like a prenup to protect herself, but in order for her and her partner to protect each other
-Another respondent equated prenups and fairness, saying that getting a prenup is the fair thing to do.
-One woman suggested a prenup specifically to protect her partner’s inheritance so that his family would know she had no intention of using him for his money.
-One wife told the tale of her distraught husband who lost custody of a child after a previous marriage had ended. When they decided to adopt a child, they got a post-nup in order to give him a sense of safety and make him feel that the same thing could not happen again.
-One commenter noted that they would only get a prenup if there were significant wealth differences between her and her spouse, citing a $5-$15k price tag for prenups. We at HelloPrenup offer a sophisticated software that removes a lot of tension from the equation and helps you to write a prenup based on your specific financial situation. It only costs $599.
Quotes from Commenters
Some commenters related personal anecdotes or brought up points that are best expressed in their own words. Here are a few of our favorite quotes from them about why they have or will get prenups in the future:
“Crazy that people think that getting a prenup is speaking divorce into existence. That’s like saying you won’t get car insurance because you’re throwing the possibility of a car accident into the universe. Car insurance won’t stop someone from rear ending you and [not having] a prenup won’t stop a divorce if the circumstances call for it. Just saying.”
“Yes. To protect each other in case of the worst in the future.”
“A prenuptial agreement is a contract that lays out what happens during the marriage AND in the event of a divorce. It’s not just about finances it can include anything you want.”
“It’s better to make these decisions when you like/love/care for one another bc should the relationship go south – attitudes change.”
“I didn’t the first time and we didn’t have anything, but during the divorce process I actually started making more money than him…and he came for half my business. Next marriage we are definitely doing prenups for sureee! Not going through that [mess] again!”
“Yes. Mandatory. — I’m a very cautious person… has nothing to do with my trust level.”
“I would get a prenup, because it’s there to protect you. First off, if I get sick it protects him from paying that debt if I die. Second[ly], if he gets sick I will at that time have a multi million dollar property inheritance and it will protect me from the government seizing it. Also prevents someone from marrying me just for a hunk of that property. Also, if he ends up maxing out credit cards and gets a gambling or shopping addiction I won’t be responsible for that debt at divorce or death. I don’t care about splitting my money, I only think about potential racked up debt and [whether] I want that debt to vanish, or if I want to pay it off.
Prenups don’t just protect your earnings, they protect you against your ex spouses acquired debts as well.”
“When we divorced, the IRS came after me for money he owed from BEFORE I even knew him.”
“As a divorce attorney, I highly recommend them. Do not allow the state to decide for you who gets what. In addition, they save marriages rather than promote divorce. The state gives huge financial incentives for a spouse to leave the marriage if things go wrong, especially if you’re successful. As women these days start to earn more than their husbands, more and more ex husbands are getting alimony and even child support which can be 40% of your wages before taxes. Not to mention the assets you loose.”
One commenter was a family law attorney who gave a startling anecdote along with her perspective on prenups:
“I work in family law, so I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly. Scenario: This one lady has been fighting for spousal support for 10 years and spent $50,000 in lawyer fees. When they got married 30 some odd years ago, she agreed to quit her job and stay home with the kids and take care of the house while he worked. The kids are grown and on their own, but he wanted her to stay home and not work and keep up with the house and cooking etc.
Had she never left work, she would have been able to retire and support herself. Had they gotten a marriage contract [it could have stipulated that] if there [were] a breakdown of the marriage, he would pay her spousal support for an interim period until she could find suitable work etc. And he would have happily signed that–when they were happy and in love and not planning to part.
Since they didn’t have a marriage contract, she has been trying to prove that before the marriage she was able to support herself and because of their relationship she can no longer do that. Without working for 30 years and having no employment experiences on her resume for such a long period of time, it’s nearly impossible to get a job.
It’s a known fact that couples with prenups have lower divorce rates. People come into my office unsure if they want a divorce all the time, over a petty argument the night before. Once I explain what they could be entitled to, you can see a complete change in body language, like they hit the jackpot. In a marriage you lose your right to “title” any property or finances. It’s considered marital property and your spouse is entitled to it. You might have nothing when you first get married but that almost always changes as years go by [and a prenup can lay out plans for what happens with future marital assets].”
Of course, at the end of the day, every couple is unique and only you and your partner can decide what is right for you. If you think you might be on the same page as us about premarital agreements, check out our interactive software that helps you and your fiance open up communication, put your plans down in writing, and customize your own prenuptial agreement, all for a fraction of the price you would pay a lawyer.
Find this article interesting? Maybe next time we’ll survey men and find out whether their reasons for wanting prenups are the same as the women surveyed here. Stay tuned!
Julia Rodgers is HelloPrenup’s CEO and Co-Founder. She is a Massachusetts family law attorney and true believer in the value of prenuptial agreements. HelloPrenup was created with the goal of automating the prenup process, making it more collaborative, time efficient and cost effective. Julia believes that a healthy marriage is one in which couples can openly communicate about finances and life goals. You can read more about us here Questions? Reach out to Julia directly at [email protected].