You might think a prenup is a waste of time or even be offended by the mention of it. It is only natural to want to avoid thinking about divorce before you even get married. However, a prenup can protect you, your children, and the rest of your family if something happens.
Before you say, “I do,” consider the benefits of a prenup.
What Is a Prenup?
A prenuptial agreement, or “prenup,” is a contract created between people before marriage. It establishes who owns pre-marital assets and property. Prenups establish property rights for each person if the marriage ends in divorce.
A prenup can provide security for children you had before the new marriage and any other family members who may have an interest in your assets or property. Divorces with a prenup often operate much more smoothly than those without an agreement.
The decisions you make in a prenup can protect you during the emotional upheaval of a divorce.
Seven Reasons To Get a Prenup
Here are the top seven reasons to consider a prenuptial agreement with your soon-to-be spouse.
1. You Can Keep Your Finances Separate
Suppose you already own a house, car, and other property. In that case, it might be best to keep those things separate by distinguishing ownership in a prenup. Many couples want individual bank accounts and desire to keep it that way after marriage. The best way to keep separate finances during a marriage or a potential divorce is a prenup.
2. You Can Limit Your Financial Responsibilities
Prenups benefit you and your spouse if there are income disparities. If you are the higher-wage earner, you might have to pay spousal support in a divorce. A prenup could limit the amount of potential spousal support payments.
Similarly, suppose you are the lower-wage earner or plan on staying home with your children while supporting your spouse domestically. In that case, you might want a prenup to ensure a certain level of financial support after divorce.
3. You Establish Property Rights
Nearly all couples plan on buying a house and other property during their marriage. A prenup establishes property rights for all jointly-owned property. Whether it is a primary residence, vacation home, boat, or land, a prenup can designate who will have the rights to that property if separation occurs.
If you wait for the divorce to determine who gets what, you will have more stress and are less likely to agree. Creating a prenup allows both parties to come together and mutually decide about their future.
4. Protect Yourself From Your Spouse’s Debt
Many people have significant debt, whether it is credit cards, student loans, or other types. You don’t want to be saddled with any of that if a divorce occurs. A prenuptial agreement creates a plan to resolve debt brought into the marriage.
Perhaps your plan gives the high-wage earner more financial responsibilities, or you agree to a timetable to pay the debt. A prenup is a contract that can incorporate a plan that works for both of you.
5. Protect Your Family Heirlooms and Inheritance
Generally, any inheritance you receive during a marriage is not considered marital property. Still, a prenup ensures that you protect your family heirlooms, property, or business.
If you have ownership in a family business, a prenup is also essential. Otherwise, your spouse could be entitled to a percentage of ownership in a divorce. Your family might not like that prospect. Use a prenuptial agreement to ensure you maintain the integrity of your family business.
6. Avoid Time Consuming and Stressful Court Proceedings
Divorce is always stressful, but a prenup can eliminate the majority of the issues that cause problems. A divorce’s critical elements involve determining property distribution, debt allocation, alimony, and other financial matters.
It will be a lot easier to agree with your spouse before the negative feelings of separation occur.
Divorce mediations and hearings can take time. According to Nolo.com, the average divorce can take over a year, with divorces that go to court taking much longer. A prenup makes it more likely that you and your spouse can have an uncontested divorce that is less expensive and takes less time to complete.
7. You Save Money in the Long Run
The longer a divorce takes and the more complex it is, the more money you will spend. When you work with a prenup lawyer before marriage, you could save considerable money if the marriage ends in divorce.
According to Nolo.com, the average cost of a divorce that goes to trial is $20,400. However, in divorces where both parties agree and settle quickly, the average cost drops to $10,600. A prenup can help save you nearly half the cost of a divorce that goes to trial.
How a Prenup Lawyer Can Help You
While you are not required to get legal advice before you create a prenup, it’s best to have an attorney on your side throughout the process. A prenup is a legal contract that is binding once you have signed. It is in your best interest to fully understand your rights and responsibilities. A prenup attorney can help you protect yourself financially and legally.
We realize that getting a prenup might not be on your pre-wedding to-do list. However, a well-crafted prenuptial agreement protects your interests if your marriage ends in divorce. A prenup lawyer can review all your property and expected assets and help you think clearly about the future.