When you are engaged and planning a wedding, you have a lot of details to work out. What date will you get married? Where will your wedding and reception take place? What will you do for food and entertainment? One item you may overlook though is considering if you and your future spouse need a prenuptial agreement.
You may think prenuptial agreements are only for the rich and famous. However, signing prenuptial agreements is becoming more common for couples, with a 62% increase in prenups from 2013 to 2016. Part of the reason for that is that couples are marrying later and want to protect the assets they have accumulated individually.
Here are some reasons having a prenuptial agreement is a good idea:
- One person has more assets than the other.
This could include someone who already owns a home and wants to clearly set out how any assets from that will be divided if the couple divorces.
- One person earns significantly more than the other.
Again, you can determine ahead of time how the length of your marriage will affect any alimony you might pay if you divorce.
- Either you or your partner own a business.
Anyone who owns a business should have a prenuptial agreement to protect their business’ assets in case of divorce.
- You or your future spouse intend to spend years out of the workforce raising children.
Stay-at-home parents often face a lot of challenges in divorce: reentering the workforce, getting additional training to become more employable or facing a lower salary because of a career change. With a prenuptial agreement, you can lay out what any alimony amounts may be and even protect a stay-at-home parent by providing alimony after the children turn 18.
- One partner is drowning in debt.
If one of you has a lot of debt and doesn’t have good spending habits, it’s a good idea to keep your finances as separate as possible. With a prenuptial agreement, you can set forth who is responsible for the debt brought into the marriage. Without that, you’ll divide any debt (other than student loan debt) equally in divorce.
Working with an experienced family law attorney can help you and your future spouse create a fair prenuptial agreement. Then you will know your assets are protected, and dividing your assets will be easier if you do someday end your marriage.