Are you recently engaged? Every engaged couple should understand the basic concept and components of a prenup before marriage. Often, this term is incorrectly thrown around in TV shows, movies, and other media sources. If you’re wondering what a prenup really is and what is involved, this article is for you. This informational guide will provide everything you need to know about prenup to determine if it’s right for you.
This article will dive into the basics of a prenup, who can benefit, what’s included, and important considerations in the process. But wait! Before you can determine if you need a prenup, first, let’s explore what it really is.
What is a Prenup?
A prenup is an agreement or contract that two people sign before they get officially married. Prenups usually include a bunch of written statements that both parties agree upon, about debts, property, and finances. The goal of a prenup is to make things easier in the event of a divorce, ensuring that assets are divided fairly and equally.
A prenup allows you and your future spouse to create an agreement that is fair for both parties. It’s intended to protect not one, but both of you, in the event you choose to part ways. While it can be a difficult topic to discuss for some couples, a prenup is a smart decision to protect both of your futures.
A prenup must be signed before you become legally married. After marriage, it is too late to create a prenup. In these instances, a postnuptial agreement can be created, however, this is not as ideal. When possible, you and your partner should carefully consider a prenup before marriage.
What is the Purpose of a Prenup?
A prenup protects the interests of both parties in a marriage. There are a variety of things you may choose to include in your prenup. This includes protection and separation of student debt, credit card debt, mortgage debt, personal property, assets, retirement, and many other personal assets. Creating a prenup helps prepare you for unforeseen events that can become complicated.
Creating a prenup does not say anything about your marriage or where it’s headed. Before you get angry at your partner for suggestions of a prenup, keep reading to learn more about the many benefits of a prenup.
Who Should Get a Prenup?
Any couple can get a prenup before entering marriage! Depending on your circumstances, some instances will especially benefit from a prenup.
Some common scenarios include:
- Debt: Is one person entering the marriage with a specific amount of student debt? If so, a prenup can be useful. A prenup will define details of who is responsible for that specific student debt in the event of a divorce. This can help protect the other party from being liable for debt that is not theirs.
This applies to other types of debt besides student debt, as well. Debt during a divorce could hurt your personal credit score. A prenup can help you keep your finances separate and protect your personal credit.
- Gifts: If you anticipate significant wedding gifts, a prenup can help you define who keeps those items if you get divorced. This will make divorce easier and eliminate arguments in the future.
- Businesses: If you own a business, a prenup is a smart idea. Having a prenup can help you protect your business property from complications that occur during a divorce.
- Children: If you have children from a previous relationship, you may feel strongly about passing down specific assets to them. A prenuptial agreement can help you separate specific property to ensure they receive a future inheritance, regardless of your marriage.
Although these are some common reasons people choose to get a prenup, many individual circumstances occur. A prenup can be customized to meet your specific needs.
Prenup Benefits and Misconceptions
Many people incorrectly assume negative things when a prenup is discussed. These common misconceptions are important to debunk:
Does Prenups Suggest a Lack of Love?
Marriages with prenups are not bound to fail! This common misconception often stands in the way of important prenup discussions. If your partner has suggested a prenup agreement, do not take offense. A prenup is not at all an indication of how your partner feels about your upcoming marriage. A prenup suggests your partner takes your marriage seriously and values both of your futures.
Prenups are too Expensive
Creating a prenup before your marriage can save you costly expenses in the future. Think of a prenup as an investment in your and your partner’s future! A prenup can be affordable to create when compared to the cost of legal action needed in the future, and at $599 per couple, HelloPrenup costs a fraction of what more traditional methods cost. You and your partner can come up with a payment solution that is fair for both parties to make a prenup possible.
Benefits of a Prenup
If your partner has suggested a prenup, consider the benefits. There are so many reasons that a prenup can benefit both parties in a marriage! Below are some of the best advantages of a prenuptial marriage agreement:
Of course, no soon-to-be-married couples anticipate divorce. However, unforeseen events can sometimes occur, leading to a divorce. Should you need a divorce, you’ll be glad if the process is streamlined and simplified. Preparing a prenup in advance can help make divorce less complicated.
A well-drafted prenup agreement can help you avoid legal and personal battles. It can help to keep the divorce fair and eliminate extra arguments.
Protect Yourself from Debt
A prenup is also a great idea to help you avoid problems with debt. In the event of a divorce, the courts often split marital debt equally. However, if your spouse has significant debt before the marriage, you can outline this in your prenup. In the event of a divorce, you’ll be able to separate debt, ensuring you’re not personally liable. This applies to student debt or any other type of personal debt.
Financial Planning Tool
A prenup can be used as a financial planning tool before you enter a marriage. If desired, your prenuptial agreement can help you define which assets will remain separate, despite the marriage. It is a common misconception that couples who are wealthy are the only ones who need a prenuptial agreement. However, prenups are used in all types of financial situations.
Strengthen the Connection between Partners
Did you know a prenup can strengthen the connection in your relationship? Creating a prenup can help ensure both you and your partner are on the same page. This helps you both feel confident in each other as you enter the marriage. While you may never need the prenup, you’ll both feel rest assured that it is there in the event of a problem.
When you create a prenup, it will pave the way for a great conversation with your soon-to-be life partner. These conversations open the door for discussions about dreams, desires, and goals for the future of the marriage. While many people assume prenups show hesitation, creating a prenup shows the opposite! A prenuptial agreement discussion helps you outline exactly where you want to go in life, helping you to better understand your partner.
What happens if I don’t have a Prenup?
If you don’t have a prenup, divorce can become more complicated. The rules may vary, depending on which state you reside in. The state may have legal capabilities to determine how your assets should be divided. If you want more control and input on your own assets, having a prenup prepared can give you more of a say in the situation.
Some states automatically do a 50/50 split of marital assets in the event of a divorce. Other states operate differently, which aim to divide assets fairly. In these instances, the split is not always a 50/50 even split. Without a prenup in place, the courts have a big say in what happens to your future.
How soon before I get married do I need a Prenup?
Discussing your prenup should take place in advance of your wedding. This will give you and your partner adequate time to discuss your needs and carefully consider what to include. In general, two to three months in advance of your wedding is a great time to launch these discussions.
Each state has different laws about when a prenup should be signed. In general, you’ll want the prenup to be signed more than a week in advance of the wedding.
Make a Smart Investment
Convinced you and your partner should create a prenup before marriage? If so, you’re on the right path! Starting the discussion with your partner early will give you both time to consider your individual needs. Not only will you connect during the process, but you’ll also save money and hassle in the event of a divorce.
Don’t let common myths surrounding prenups inform your decision. Make a smart investment in your future, eliminating the hassle surrounding divorce. While you may never need it, it never hurts to be prepared!
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].