The short answer: everyone should consider getting a prenup. It’s not just for the wealthy anymore. A prenup can help anyone. Some people might say it’s bad luck, but would you consider getting car insurance bad luck? I mean, it’s the same concept. You get car insurance just in case you get into a fender bender, right? The same logic applies to a prenup. There is a slew of people who should get a prenup, from business owners to student loan borrowers. All can be helped by a prenup.
What is a prenup?
A prenuptial agreement (commonly called”prenup”), is a binding legal contract between two soon-to-be spouses and is effective upon marriage. A prenup can cover many topics, including property division, alimony (i.e., spousal support or maintenance), insurance, pets, confidentiality, and more. One thing a prenup can typically not cover is children, except in very limited circumstances in certain states. You usually cannot contract around child support and child custody in your prenup because those are the rights of your future child.
On top of all of that, a prenup is also an excellent communication tool. It facilitates an open line of communication by forcing two people to discuss all (and we mean ALL) of their finances, goals, and expectations of each other. For example, let’s say one partner believes that they will be the stay-at-home parent and the other partner wants a 50/50 split of the bills. This type of conversation will need to be had in order to create a prenup and understanding, hence why it is such a great communication tool!
Why do people get prenups?
There are a plethora of reasons why a person would get a prenup. For starters, a prenup can protect both people financially should you get a divorce and sometimes death. A prenup can protect your houses, businesses, bank accounts, retirement funds, inheritances, and more. If you’re already going through an expensive divorce, it’s probably not ideal to also have to give up certain assets you planned on keeping for yourself. A prenup can help delineate which assets you would like to keep separate, ultimately saving you from a costly divorce.
Along the same vein is saving you time. When you have a prenup, you have already hashed out a lot of the major issues that are often disputed in a divorce. This saves you time in your attorney’s office and in the courtroom.
Without being actual insurance, a prenup is the same concept as marriage insurance! Just like you hope you never get into a car crash, you have car insurance just in case. The same goes here! You hope that your marriage will never end, but let’s be honest, nearly 40-50% of marriages end in divorce.
How much does a prenup cost, and how long does it take?
A prenup can cost upwards of $10,000 with an attorney. The cost often depends on the skill level of the attorney, the location (whether you are in San Francisco or Tulsa), and the complexity of your case. But boy, do we have good news for you. HelloPrenup offers you a prenup for just $599 per couple. We repeat $599 per couple. That is, no hidden fees, no surprise “gotcha” moments. It’s really just that. Now, you can always take that HelloPrenup contract after it’s completed to an attorney near you if you have questions or would like representation. That will still be cheaper than going the traditional attorney-only route while allowing you more control over the process. Why? Because an attorney has to bill you for the hours they spend on actually drafting the prenup…which can get up to $1000 PER HOUR. Yikes! HelloPrenup cuts the billable hours time down and still saves you money if you want to use HelloPrenup and an attorney.
People always say time is money. And HelloPrenup also saves you money by saving you time. You can get a prenup done with us in just an hour and a half. With a regular attorney, this can take weeks (again, depending on your attorney and your case). It’s a win-win!
Who should get a prenup?
There is truly a multitude of reasons you should get a prenup, and we’re not just saying that! There are cold, hard facts to back it up.
You have assets you want to protect
This one is fairly obvious, but the meat and potatoes of any prenup are protecting assets, income, and against debt. Assets are anything with monetary value, such as real estate, bank accounts, retirement funds, investment accounts, expensive artwork, NFTs, and more. How assets are divided in a divorce varies depending on which state you are in. For example, let’s say you live in California and you are getting a divorce. You purchased an investment property during the marriage with the intention of keeping it your own little side project. Even though your spouse didn’t lift a finger or contribute a penny to this property, there is a good chance this property will be split right down the middle.
How about that little apartment you purchased years before you ever laid eyes on your honey? It was paid off with your hard-earned money, so it must be yours, right…right? Not necessarily. Unfortunately, this property very well could be split up in a divorce. Much of what happens depends on the facts of your situation and your state’s divorce law. Why leave it up to chance?
You are expecting an inheritance or gift
It is a common misconception that inheritances or gifts from family or friends are automatically safe from being split up in a divorce. It’s simply not true. However, a prenup can help you protect these things. Let’s illustrate this concept with an example. You get a $5,000 check from your Mom every Christmas and birthday (lucky you!). You assume that this money is your own because it’s YOUR gift, after all. Well, not so fast. Gifts such as these (and inheritances) are not always safe from division in a divorce. Again, much of this depends on your state law and the particular facts of your case. Moral of the story? Get a prenup if you receive gifts from family or are expecting an inheritance.
You are on your second (or third) marriage
If you are in your second or third marriage, then you are probably familiar with the divorce process and the havoc it can wreak on your life. That’s why you also probably know a prenup would do you good this time around. A prenup can save more than just money; it can save you from additional gray hairs.
You have children from another relationship
Locking down a prenup can help make sure your assets are protected and remain separate property, not subject to division in a divorce. Without a prenup, your future ex may have rights to some of your assets that would have otherwise gone to your children.
One word: debt
The dreaded four-letter word that brings a shiver down almost anyone’s spine: debt. Most of us have it, but none of us want it. It’s one of those things about life that we just come to accept. Plus, these days, debt is more common than ever, with the number of student loans floating around. If your partner has an ungodly amount of student loans or credit card debt, you will definitely want a prenup to make sure you don’t take the brunt of any of that. Also, debt that gets taken on during a marriage is often looked at as marital/community debt and may be split between the two of you, even if one of you had nothing to do with it!
You are a stay-at-home parent (or will be one in the future)
Let’s say you already know you’re going to be the stay-at-home parent. You plan to cook, clean, do laundry, and be the best parent this world has ever seen. That’s great, but what happens if you get a divorce? Will you have the skills and education necessary to support yourself?
Unfortunately, there is no salary for stay-at-home parents, so your efforts aren’t compensated with money. This is why a prenup can help give you the peace of mind to know you will be supported after the marriage. You could do this in a few ways; one way would be to deem a large asset, such as the marital home, as your separate property. Or maybe it’s with alimony (i.e., spousal support or maintenance) payments to get you by for several years while you find a job or remarry. Either way, a prenup can protect you.
You are wealthier than your partner
This is probably the most common reason people think of when they think of prenups. They think of the rich and famous and assume people only get prenups when they have an overflow of wealth. Well, prenups aren’t just for the rich anymore; they’re for everyone…but they are also still for the rich, too. Prenups protect assets, and the wealthy have assets. That’s the whole point!
You have or plan on opening a business
Brace yourself: if you have a business, especially if you started it while married, you could lose equity or control in your business. Another scenario, equally as scary, is that a court could divide the value of your equity in your business, and you will need to pay your spouse a substantial chunk of change. The even scarier part? If your spouse acquires business equity, they may have the power over the operations of the entity. Ouch! Or, what if it’s your spouse that opened a business during the marriage and took out a ton of business loans… yep, you guessed it, you could be on the hook for that debt.
You fear infidelity
In some states, you can add an infidelity clause, i.e., the infamous “no-cheating clause.” Now, hear us out: a prenup with an infidelity clause is no guarantee that your spouse won’t cheat. It could simply act as a way to set expectations with your spouse and create some peace of mind for you.
You want to maintain a private lifestyle
In the era of social media, it’s no wonder the social media clause has come to be quite popular. What is a social media clause, you ask? It’s a way to outline the expectations you have for your spouse regarding their social media use and your privacy. For example, a social media clause might lay ground rules for posting certain images of the other spouse. Now, this might not seem like a normal clause to add, and sure, it might be for people that are more akin to the influencer lifestyle, but it exists! And if you are an influencer or your soon-to-be spouse is, maybe you want to address this.
You have pets
It’s true; pets really are part of the family. And with that, many states allow you to actually include financial responsibilities, ownership decisions, and even visitation schedules for sweet old Max. Without a prenup, in most states, pets are generally treated like a piece of property, like an expensive lamp, and will be divided based on real property principles, like “who bought it?” instead of “who has the closest emotional ties to the pup?”
You want to facilitate an open dialogue with your partner about the future
Prenups really make you dig deep. Emotionally and financially. You are basically planning out your entire life, including financial goals, roles, and expectations. If you want a valid prenup, you cannot hide anything. Every last penny must be accounted for and disclosed to your spouse, and you guys have to put your heads together to agree on certain life topics. Maybe your future spouse is secretly expecting to be a stay-at-home parent, but you have no idea. Or maybe they assumed that your future inheritance from Daddy Warbucks would be a shared thing (but you think otherwise). This type of conversation will get brought up in the prenup process.
You want reassurance that you won’t have a frustrating divorce experience
A prenup is a fast-track way to get you an amicable divorce. Most of the matters of a divorce, such as property division and alimony, have been worked out in the prenup. There should be no back and forth on this because you have already agreed to everything in advance. Less back and forth = less time spent in your attorney’s office. Plus, less money spent! It’s truly a win-win. We even like to call it marriage insurance because it’s quite on par with protecting yourself from a negative marital outcome.
We’ll leave you with this: everyone should consider getting a prenup. It’s not only a way to give you peace of mind about your finances, but it also helps you and your partner get on the same page before entering a marriage. What is more romantic than alignment, communication, and financial security? Nothing, in our opinion!
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]