The great Whit once said “the children are our future” and let’s just say, we can all agree on this for many, many reasons.
As an engaged fiance, you’re feeling the possibility of having kids is that much closer (even closer than let’s say a handful of those drunk nights together with your fiance but we can talk about those another time).
If you’re reading this, you’re wondering “what do I need to include in our prenup that will protect my future kids?”
Prenups are on the list with life insurance and a will. Those going into marriage without any three of these are risking the courts delegating what happens to your estate and in turn, your kids.
How does a prenup protect your future kids? Let’s dive into what a prenup can include for protection, what it can prevent, and how it gives you peace of mind (among all the other things you’re going to worry about as parents).
Better ROI on your marriage
Being engaged is like being pregnant in that the anticipation is arguably sexier than actually being married (or having the kid). We understand this as most of us here at HP are parents and have definitely been engaged (and, you guessed it, prenup’d). What’s not as sexy, is the amount of effort and time that goes into planning a big event, like a wedding, or….labor. That’s exactly what a prenup will help delegate for you.
A prenup is like you are an event planner in the event that a divorce or death (or any similar scenario) may occur. You’re putting a minimal down payment on your future. You’re investing that few hundred dollars to make sure that you don’t have to spend thousands and thousands in unforeseeable events later (like death or divorce).
We hate math too, but let’s walk through the numbers super quick just to say we did.
The way to register this is by realizing you’re getting a much better return on investment (ROI) than the alternative contested divorce costing close to $15,000 (and depending on what state you are in, that could be per party). A prenup with HelloPrenup will cost a few hundred dollars (depending on the package that you choose) and will sit on an untouched shelf unless it must be used.
Now, you already know this, but kids are expensive too. Imagine having to walk through an expensive divorce, tuition, daycare, and natural wear and tear expenses like rent, groceries, insurance, and the 14 entertainment subscriptions we all can’t live without (@Netflix, @Hulu, @HBO, etc) Or, you could spend a handful of dollars on a prenup that streamlines your divorce for you so you don’t have to worry about rent or a lawyer this month (spoiler alert: the lawyer could cost more).
A prenup is also a great excuse to talk about really foundational topics with your partner and use this prenup as an after dinner exercise that helps you two grow stronger as a couple. You two can do this at your kitchen table (or bed, or dog bed, or wherever) so you don’t have to do it while paying `billable hours later while you two have just about had it with each other, and you have your kids’ soccer and volleyball games to attend in about 20 minutes.
Protect yourself and plan these scenarios with a prenup while you two have respect for each other. You are not planning your doom, in fact, make this a lighthearted, and relationship-protecting situation. If divorce is never going to happen, then what’s the harm in discussing this “what if” just this once so you never have to worry about it again?
Alimony is there to protect you
Let’s set the foundation and benchmark for the rest of this article, and keep it super real. Marriage is ultimately, a financial conversation as much as it is a romantic partnership. We call this the business of marriage.
Yes, marriage is incredible. When it works, it’s like winning the lottery daily and reminding yourself just how lucky you are to have that emotional support. But for the purpose of this article, let’s remember that the other half of marriage is the financial support that you two will have on each to not only protect yourselves, make your home, but to care for your super cute kids, too.
One of the most crucial topics that you’ll want to discuss with your partner is alimony. “Alimony refers to court-ordered payments awarded to a spouse or former spouse within a separation or divorce agreement. The reason behind it is to provide financial support to the spouse who makes a lower income, or in some cases, no income at all.”
Why is this so crucial? Let’s consider all of the ducklings in the pond for a second.
First, your alimony is to protect you in the event that you decide to stay home and raise your kids now that you have some financial support with your new partner. There are so many factors contributing to the likelihood of this outcome – the notorious COVID pandemic, the distance learning programs that seem to have no end in sight, and the social distancing restrictions that are set forth without a realistic deadline.
For some of us, we are thinking, “yeah, but, the pandemic is temporary. Our marriage isn’t.” Touché, friend, touché.
However, one thing we know for sure, that is guaranteed to happen in your marriage amongst all other possible cases – you are going to change your mind and stuff is just going to happen that is out of your control – especially if you’re planning on having kids.
With that in mind, let’s just plan out that in the event that your financial situation changes, with or without your consent, that you’re going to protect yourself no matter the event. If you may be the lesser earning spouse, make sure you are protecting your financial means by ensuring alimony is in place, just doesn’t work out with your partner.
So, if you plan to stay home with the kids, it may be twice as hard to get back into the workforce than it was before you left, and frankly, you may not be able to make as much money when you do enter back since you’ve lost some experience and there are less jobs available.
Put your mask on before helping others. Make sure that you protect yourself financially so that you can efficiently take care of your living expenses. Most importantly, you have those cute kids to worry about, so make sure that you are able to take care of their leader first so that the rest will follow suit.
Protection is key. In some cases child support simply isn’t enough, and depending on what state you are in, child support is calculated differently. No, you can’t include the kids in the prenup (child support cannot be decided within a prenup, that is decided by your state’s guidelines) but alimony, or lump sum payments sure can. Don’t miss this crucial clause when drafting your prenup. It will save you so much time, money, and heartache and bring peace of mind for you and your kids.
Add an expiration date with a Sunset clause
It’s true – prenups CAN expire with a Sunset clause, if they are mapped out to do so. It is not a guarantee that a prenup expires by default. It has to be stated very clearly in a prenup while it is being drafted and signed by both parties – as in, this was not an accident, we intended it this way.
Why is an expiration date crucial for parents? Let’s pretend that you and your partner have been married for, let’s say just for example’s sake (and this next part will be decided by both parties), 5 years. At this point, you and your partner might feel like “hey, we’ve been married for 5 years. We’ve built a great family together, and what’s mine is yours and vice versa anyways, so it makes sense that this commitment should only be honored by having the prenup expire and we now default to sharing our assets equally while married.”
Point blank, if you and your partner have a sunset clause, and your partner decides to leave you AFTER the 5 years, the prenup will “expire” and the prenup will be treated as though it never existed.
Primary residence clause
Your partner has decided it’s time to part ways, and now you’re freaking out because someone needs to move out of the house – and it might be you and your kids.
But this is THEIR home too. There are so many memories here, and this is the place they grew up in. Now I have to leave my home because my partner owned it first?
How long do you and your kids have to move out?
We see it all the time. Couples get divorced and someone gets to keep the house, and someone doesn’t. Or someone gets to stay in the house for the pendency of the divorce, and someone doesn’t. If you and your partner decide that you and your kids will be the ones to leave your home in the event of divorce, do yourself a favor and add a Primary Residence Clause.
A primary residence clause will clearly define who gets to stay in the house during a pending divorce, or even post divorce and for how long the spouse has to move out that is not guaranteed to stay in the house.
This is a pretty obvious one, right? Where are you and the kids going to stay and how long do you have to move out? Define it. Write it out with your partner. I know, it sounds terrible, and you want to scream even thinking about being temporarily homeless or house hunting with your kids, but it’s the responsible thing to do.
Whatever makes sense for your sanity
There are many types of clauses that can protect you and your kids. These are just a few of the major ones that we recommend to make sure that you have something to show for your marriage in the event that it just doesn’t work out.
You already know this, that’s why you’re diving this far into this article. A prenup is crucial for you and the kids and let’s hope you never have to use it, but you have it just in case you need to.
There is so much to gain in this marriage you’re entering into. But with anything, what goes up, can potentially come down (or however that saying goes). Keep your eye on the prize, but make sure you have a stable route to redirect to with your kids in the event you ever need to.
HelloPrenup is designed with you and all parents in mind. We provide you with all of these clauses – alimony, sunset, and primary residence – but also dog clauses (who gets to keep Sparky), health insurance clauses (who will pay for who’s health insurance), lump sum payments (single payments after certain amount of time to share equity to spouse with less wealth), etc. ???? Learn more about all of our clauses here.
You can also reach out to us directly at [email protected] We created HelloPrenup for you. Let’s utilize you and your kids’ future together.
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