It’s no secret that prenups are pretty controversial. Unless you and your spouse are incredibly wealthy, it can be pretty hard to justify getting one because no one wants to think about their marriage ending before it has even begun. But one thing that everyone has to accept is that no matter what marriage will always end, either from death or divorce. You have to take the good with the bad. Prenups can include what will happen to your shared assets after your spouse dies, not just if you get a divorce. If you and your spouse want to prepare for the worst-case scenario, then a prenup should be nothing to be ashamed about. Here are some things to consider when deciding if you should get a prenup.
Your Current Assets
The most obvious case is if one or both people make a significant amount of money. Like six- digits-a-year-or-higher type of money. While divorces are a bitter thing, dividing finances can be one of the worst parts of a miserable process. But a prenup is a way to divide up what was already yours, to begin with so you won’t leave a marriage with less than what you came into it with. The laws vary from state to state about what you can put into a prenup, some only allowing you to put financial affairs while others allow to include personal information (like how much each person can weigh), But they mostly focus on what is going to be divided in the case of a divorce.
Your Current Debts
When you get married, you are with your spouse for better or worse, and that “worse” can mean taking on your spouse or ex-spouse’s debt. So it is not surprising that millennials, which have the most debt in history, are choosing to sign prenups. According to this survey, 50% of lawyers report an increase in millennials seeking prenups before getting married. Student debt has increased by 300% from Gen X to Millennials, so it makes sense that they are not wanting to take on the debt of their partner as well. Prenups are generally limited to what each person owned before the marriage and not after, but there are other laws that can help protect you from taking on your spouse if they rack up a ton of debt during the marriage, but there are not many. Before marriage and during the marriage, it is important for both people to stay on top of their finances and hold the other person accountable.
Current Issues That Prenups Can and Cannot Cover
As stated before, most prenups cover property, money, and marital agreements. While each is a case by case basis that is decided between each spouse and their lawyer, a lot of people use it to protect their own personal assets. If someone owns a house before the marriage, they may create a prenup that says that they are entitled to keep the house under their name, provided that they pay to maintain it. What it cannot cover is illegal activity and issues of child custody. Prenups cannot limit a parent’s responsibility for a child or determine child custody before marriage.
When two people get married, they should both be responsible enough to decide what is best for them. If they believe that a prenup is what is best for their marriage, then that should be between them. Marriage is complicated and tricky, and sometimes it can be filled with regrets. A prenup may not protect you from personal decisions and loss, but it can protect you from financial strife down the road if it ever comes to that.