You’re engaged! You’re elated! You’re that fiancé that just keeps jabbering on and on about all of the wedding details to your friends, family, grocery clerk, and even your dog. We’ve been there too, and we are totally here for it.
There’s so much to look forward to in terms of planning – the dress, the venue, the cake, the taco truck, the zoom strippers (yes, that’s a thing these days). And you’re just super excited to pronounce your partnership with your fiancé and ride into the sunset together.
Usually, when it comes to the wedding planning, it seems like most people are super excited to know about all of it – every detail. Including the personal ones, like:
Does this mean you guys share finances now?
Do you guys want kids?
Are you going to change your last name? You’re not? Why not?
Yes, marriage is so exciting, and being engaged is one of the best feelings in the world. But answering all of these personal questions to every single person that walks into your path? Exhausting. And quite frankly? Annoying.
At this point, you might be thinking that there’s no way you could even bring up a prenup without people losing their damn minds, and most everyone is already lost in the sauce with the little details like the DJ or lack thereof. So a prenup conversation might be out of the question for anyone that isn’t your fiance since it’s just too much to cover and it’s frankly….annoying.
For those of you who are being tormented with the question of “Why are you getting a prenup?” **knuckles cracking** Here’s some free ammo to battle your way seamlessly through this conversation so you can feel great about your prenup and get back to planning your big day.
Less wealthy spouse benefits of prenup
Remember everything you know about prenups being only for the rich and famous? Well forget about that. Forget about it all, because arguably, prenups benefit the less wealthier spouse entering the marriage more than the wealthier spouse entirely. Here’s why.
When a less wealthy spouse enters a marriage, they potentially have more to lose. If you enter into something, like a marriage, with nothing to bring but modest bank accounts and maybe a car or two, and over time you start to build wealth and accumulate assets and growth while being married to your partner, and then you two decide to part ways, arguably, the less wealthier spouse could lose close to everything when leaving the marriage since you could lose out on building wealth with your partner and getting more out of your marriage. This potentially puts the less wealthier spouse in an even tougher position than they were before they were even married.
Wealthy spouses have “it” already. They have the money, the house, the cars, the assets to show. If they leave a marriage, they will still have at least half of these assets to fall back on in case the marriage doesn’t work out. The beauty of a prenup for the less wealthy is that it clearly defines what will happen with all this uncertainty since they don’t have “it” and need to rest assured that they won’t lose wealth exponentially or get themselves into a situation that makes them reliant upon the relationship for money.
For these reasons, here are some clauses that clearly protect the less wealthy so they don’t end up in a worse situation than they were in prior to being married.
Alimony – A payment provided by the wealthier spouse upon divorce, is designed to keep the less wealthy at a baseline level of living expenses that they had while being married (or, depending on your state’s alimony laws, even better- often alimony is a calculation based off of the difference in income between the parties). It allows the less wealthy spouse to maintain some standard of living that was similar to their married life upon dissolution of the marriage. This important clause can save the less wealthy spouse from being absolutely blind sighted in the event of a divorce and potentially lessen their standard of living practically overnight.
Death provision – A clause designed to make sure that if a person dies within the marriage that their assets, debt, and any entities are mapped out and designated to people at the will of the deceased and not the state. One thing that’s super important to point out, is that prenups have a similar purpose to wills in that are like a will in that they clearly state what will happen “in the event of…” just like death. If a person dies while being married, prenups can define what will happen to any separate property upon death and leave nothing to the hands of the court to decide further. Oftentimes, a prenup with a death clause will point to a will for further information. This may provide peace of mind for the less wealthy as they may need to rely on the assets of the deceased in order to maintain their lifestyle or wellbeing, among any other soothing factors that a death provision can provide.
Lump sum payments – perhaps you are the less wealthy spouse and you’re wondering how you are going to acquire wealth if you decide to quit your job for childcare/household/unforeseeable duties. How will you maintain a sense of income if you decide to decrease your income while married? Or, ya know, what if you’re used to a certain lifestyle and you just feel like that shouldn’t be taken away from you should your future spouse choose to walk away? Lump sum payments are sometimes optimized for couples who decide to compensate for the income of the less wealthy spouse while being married. This is common for men or women who choose to usually stay home to take care of children without the ability to outsource daycare, childcare, etc. The wealthier spouse can agree to paying lump sum payments to the less wealthy spouse of a set amount over time to make sure that the less wealthy is accommodated among any income pivots (like a pandemic, etc.).
Lump sum payments can also be a great way to even the playing field altogether. Let’s say you want a prenup, but your fiancé does not. In fact, they are downright shocked and, frankly, pretty upset that you are bringing up the idea of a prenup. Lump sum payments can be a happy middle ground, allowing the less wealthy party feel like they have some ‘skin in the game’ and therefore not going to be totally left out of any appreciation in the wealthier spouse’s assets.
Wealthy spouse benefits
This one seems a bit more obvious, right? I mean, we know prenups are for the “rich” and the overall arch of them is that they protect rich people from being victimized by a divorce that leaves them with half of their assets post divorce. But let’s dive a little bit deeper into why a prenup is super important for the wealthier spouse (even if you’re only a hairline fracture above the wealth of your spouse) and what clauses are used for the wealthier spouse.
???? Alimony – If you get married without a prenup, you may be required are entitled to pay alimony to your spouse for a certain amount of time (amount and length of time varies based on state laws and your personal situation). Does this make sense for someone who may perhaps encounter infidelity? Fraud? You’ve heard of it happening, and yes, it does. Alimony should be taken seriously by the wealthy and less wealthy spouses so a compromise is rendered between the two of you and not decided by a judge, sitting in a black robe, who doesn’t know or particularly care that the less wealthy spouse ran away with the pool boy (sorry not sorry, we all need a little humor these days). the courts themselves.
???? Primary residence clause – Do you and your fiancé plan to live in the house that you bought prior to the marriage? Do you plan on having kids? Does it make sense for you to move out of your home in the event that a divorce is granted by your partner? Primary residence clauses map out exactly what will happen to whom in the event of divorce (no matter who it is prompted by). If you don’t want to give up the house in your name and want to keep it under your separate property, then a prenup might be right for you. In addition, this works for one of the parties who may be the primary caretaker of the children by allowing them to remain in the home for an extended period of time while the divorce proceeds, ensuring that any children are not uprooted prematurely.
???? Confidentiality clause – Are you wealthier than your spouse because you own a business? Do you want to keep your prenup confidential between both parties since it could expose information that might damage your reputation or get you into any trouble? Confidentiality clauses are designed to keep all of your assets, debt, and numbers confidential, so you don’t have to worry about becoming a target for potential theft or wrongdoings later in life.
Most important: It’s none of their business
Their includes your mom, your dad, your aunts, your uncles, your friends, your grandparents, your co-workers, your grocery clerk, and anyone that decides to get in your face today. We are here to give you permission to speak up for yourself and make it very clear that prenups are personal and it’s completely okay to keep it that way.
Prenups can be one of the hardest things to talk about with your fiancé, let alone anyone at all, during a time where there is so much optimism and joy pouring out of your pores. So the last thing you may want to do is possibly explain why you’re going through with this when prenups seem to still be so taboo and stigmatized as being for the rich and keeping the poor, well, poor.
You have the ability to keep your prenups between you and your fiancé and that’s about it (if you want to). There is no shame in getting prenups, in fact, more lawyers today quote out prenups than ever before (thus the birth of HelloPrenup) and the demand for people to go into marriages with not just their hearts but also their heads.
We all know someone who’s been divorced, or have even lived through one ourselves, so based on commonality and data alone, the odds are stacked against us that marriages might not work out entirely. However, when they do, it’s the most rewarding thing a person can go through and even floods the media with couples that we just can’t get enough of.
So you’re smart to be considering a prenup altogether and having the courage to actually go through with it. Trust us, your friends who will get a divorce will absolutely come back to you full circle and say “well damn. You were right.” We see it all the time.
Need help mapping out your prenup? Get started at HelloPrenup.com or send us a note for any comments or questions you might have. We want you to feel super good about your prenup and the ability to tell people to mind their own damn business.
XO, HP ????
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].