There are some questions we tend to see over and over about prenups. So, we scraped them all together in this article and gave you a straight-shot answer, once and for all. If you have a question that you don’t see here, feel free to reach out to our team and ask away!
What is a prenup?
A prenup is a contract made between two people who are about to wed, and it must be executed before the wedding. A prenup is only effective upon the marriage, so if you never end up getting married, your prenup is invalid. A prenup covers topics like asset division, debt allocation, alimony (i.e., spousal support), and more. You can also include topics that are non-financial in nature, such as pet ownership, confidentiality, and social media image.
We’re going to squash this myth once and for all: prenups are not just for the wealthy. They’re for everyone. More specifically, you should get a prenup if:
- You have assets you want to protect,
- You or your partner has debt,
- You are a stay-at-home parent,
- You have an inheritance you want to protect,
- You have children from another relationship,
- You have pets,
- You want to avoid a lengthy and expensive divorce process,
- You want to facilitate open communication with your partner and align on life and financial goals,
- And more.
Does a prenup mean our relationship is doomed?
Nope! Many people get prenups and live happily ever after. For example, Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones have been married for over 22 years, and they had a prenup! Not to mention being married for 22 years in Hollywood is like 100 years in the regular world. They are still going strong.
“Imagine the possibilities if we thought of prenups as stress-reducing tools that strengthen relationships, rather than weapons that merely guard assets.” -Professional Life and Divorce Coach, Vindy Teja
Celebrities aside, prenups can truly connect you to your partner by facilitating open communication, aligning you on life goals, and even balancing out relationship dynamics.
What does a prenup usually include?
A prenup may include financial and non-financial topics. The commonly covered financial topics tend to include property division, debt assignment, and alimony. Some non-financial topics that may be included are confidentiality clauses, pet ownership clauses, and infidelity clauses. These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the many, many clauses available for a prenup.
Another thing to understand is that prenups don’t just include what happens in the event of a divorce and sometimes death, but they also include what happens during the marriage. Yes, certain obligations during the marriage may also be outlined in a prenup.
What if we have minimal assets? Do we still need a prenup?
Whether you have $5,000 or $5,000,000 in assets, a prenup has the ability to protect them. The question should really be: are you okay with losing some of your “minimal assets” in a divorce? If your answer is no, then you should probably get a prenup. In other words, without a prenup, you run the risk of losing a portion of your assets to your future ex-spouse, no matter how “small” those assets may be.
For example, customers have asked us if a prenup is worth it when they only have $50,000 (or insert any other amount of money) in savings. The answer is yes if you want to protect that money.
What if we only have debt? Should we still get a prenup?
Let’s put it this way: Are you cool with taking some of your future ex’s student debt?? No? Okay, you should probably consider getting a prenup. Without a prenup, debt that your partner takes on, whether it be before the marriage or during the marriage, can become yours if you get a divorce. This depends on your state laws and your specific situation, but do you really want to take that risk?
What if we want to change our prenup later on?
Usually, yes, you can change your prenup later, and this is called an amendment. The laws surrounding prenups are dictated by state law. You must follow your state’s requirements for properly amending a prenup, just like you did when you executed your prenup the first time.
How much does a prenup cost?
We’re so glad you asked. We’ll start off by telling you HelloPrenup’s cost is just $599 per couple (a mere $300 per person). If you decide to go the traditional route of hiring a lawyer only, then you’re looking at $2,500 or more for a prenup. $2,500 is the national average for prenups, but it can go up and above $10,000, depending on how complicated your case is.
How long does it take to get a prenup?
Again, this depends on your situation and how you decide to get a prenup. If you use a traditional attorney, getting a prenup could take you a few weeks to a whole year, depending on many different factors. With HelloPrenup, you can get a prenup done in under two hours! Yes, that’s right, you can pretty much get your prenup done on your really long lunch break without ever leaving your home.
Can I add an infidelity clause to my prenup?
One of our most burning questions is the no cheating clause. Can you add it to your prenup? The answer is… it depends on your state. Some states are vehemently against infidelity clauses and will most likely strike it from your prenup (meaning they won’t enforce it), like California. Other states, like Maryland, may be more inclined to uphold it. It really depends on a lot of different factors.
Can we get a prenup right before the wedding?
You should not get a prenup right before your wedding because you will run the risk of having it invalidated one day. Huh? In plain English, that means that prenups are sometimes thrown out if they are created too close to the wedding day. For example, in California, there is something known as the 7-day rule, which requires at least seven calendar days between the presentation of the prenup to the other party and the signing of the contract. If you execute your prenup five days before your wedding in California, you are violating this rule. New Hampshire also has a pretty strict time requirement on when you should execute your prenup (30 days before the wedding). If you execute your prenup a week before your wedding in New Hampshire, you run the risk of a court throwing it out.
Can we get a prenup after the wedding?
No. A prenup must be executed before the wedding. There is an alternative to a prenup called a postnuptial agreement (a.k.a. “postnup”). Postnups are marital agreements between two spouses that take place after the wedding day. They cover topics similar to prenups, but you can read more about the differences between postnups and prenups here.
Nicole Sheehey is the Head of Legal Content at HelloPrenup, and an Illinois licensed attorney. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience when it comes to prenuptial agreements. Nicole has Juris Doctor from John Marshall Law School. She has a deep understanding of the legal and financial implications of prenuptial agreements, and enjoys writing and collaborating with other attorneys on the nuances of the law. Nicole is passionate about helping couples locate the information they need when it comes to prenuptial agreements. You can reach Nicole here: [email protected]