I love my wife. But I also have a prenup. Not because I don’t trust her, but because I understand that almost half of all marriages end in divorce. And should we divorce, I want to make sure that we write the laws under which we will get divorced and not some politician from some remote area of California who doesn’t give a hoot about my marital situation.
What is a prenup?
What is a prenup or premarital agreement? A prenup is a contract or an agreement that is signed before a marriage and will guide the process of your divorce should things not work out with your partner.
All across the country, prenups have become very common. They are extremely common in second marriages or for those who want to protect family money. In fact, around 60% of people who are remarrying consider doing a prenup before they get remarried. And over a third of couples thinking about getting married for the first time would consider signing a prenup,
But still, many marrying couples are reluctant to get a prenup, some fearing the inevitable difficult discussion with their fiancé, embarrassing financial disclosures, or even fearing having to disclose their finances to a lawyer.
We have put together a few good reasons to get over your worries and sign a prenuptial agreement.
1. Your divorce can take a long time without a prenup
In California, even with an attorney, divorce proceedings can take years to wrap up and complete. Especially if you have to make multiple court appearances, you can be in court for months trying to resolve even simple issues.
A prenup could help you avoid a lengthy court battle. Instead of some politician in Sacramento writing a law that will effect your divorce and your life, you can write the law that will guide your divorce. And you can make it happen even quicker than the law would normally allow.
With a prenup, you can end your old marriage quickly and move on with your life—in style.
2. Your fiancé has loads of debt.
In many relationships, one partner may bring to the marriage a significant debt load. Under certain conditions, you could be responsible for those debts when your marriage ends. A prenup can make certain that you are not responsible for those debts. Listing the debts in a prenup and including the balances can ensure that your spouse will stay solely responsible for paying their debts they bring to the marriage.
3. Protecting your inheritance
Consider a prenup if your family has some money or assets that they would like to keep in the family to inherit. A prenup can protect your family’s assets from being taken by a divorcing spouse. Because if you do divorce without a prenup, you may end up giving up those assets.
4. You have children from a prior marriage
Children from a previous marriage could lose their entire inheritance without proper estate planning documents and the added protection of a premarital agreement. As a parent, if you are about to get married and you have children from a previous relationship, your prenup can simply state the assets which go to your kids and which go to your spouse.
5. Almost half of all marriages end in divorce
Very few people get married all the while believing that they’re probably going to get divorced. We all believe that our marriage will be the one that lasts forever.
Unfortunately, that’s just not the case. Most statistics about divorce show that almost half of all marriages end with a split.
Do your best to remember that you should at least think about the odds of your marriage ending in divorce.
6. You have more assets than your fiancé.
Quite simply, a prenup can protect what you bring to the marriage. And that protection can extend to just one asset, such as a house, and does not have to be protection for tremendous wealth or multiple assets.
You will be able to protect a large amount of your savings or investments you brought into the marriage. Many divorcing spouses find themselves losing a great deal of their savings when they go through a divorce.
A business owner will want to get a prenup to avoid having their spouse take a portion of their business should they divorce. In fact, your spouse could force themselves to be a part owner of your business, which would certainly anger your partners.
Even though you started your business before you got married, any income received from your business may be considered community property. Also, your spouse may contribute something to the business and would be compensated from the business.
Signing a prenup would ensure that you will keep your business in the unfortunate event that your marriage doesn’t last.
7. You plan to give up your career and be a homemaker
Usually, prenups are thought to protect wealthy individuals from gold diggers who are marrying for money. But today, a prenup can protect much more. For example, a prenup can protect a spouse who quits their job or career to become a full-time homemaker and raise their children. A spouse who makes those kind of financial sacrifices for their spouse and their spouse’s career and for for their child should be guaranteed financial compensation should the marriage not work.
8. You plan to commingle your separate property with community property.
After they get married, many couples buy a house together. When they do, they have to find money to put down as the down payment for the house. Frequently, they will look to the savings of one of the partners. That down payment could come from savings or out of an inheritance.
Of course, the house itself would be community property. But when you commingle your separate savings for the downpayment, should you later divorce, your money may not be recoverable.
By signing a prenup, you can agree that the downpayment will later be reimbursed during the divorce process.
9. You have a big income
Are you a high earner? Someone who make a lot of money, either through their job or through their business, should consider a prenup to avoid having to spend a lot of time and money over the issue of how much spousal support to pay. A lengthy trial over spousal support can be extremely expensive too.
These days, many premarital agreements will deal with spousal support. There is extreme flexibility in dealing with the issue. For example, you can cap the amount of money or the length of time to pay alimony. With the proper structure, you can even prevent your spouse from receiving any support at all.
10. Protection against a cheating spouse
A well drafted prenup will make your spouse think twice before cheating on you. Knowing that they could owe you lots of money can be a big deterrent.
On the other hand, if you have been cheated on by your spouse, you would certainly feel better that your cheating spouse will not get your business or beautiful house that has been in the family for generations. A little saving grace to a bad situation.
For many years, couples have felt the they just shouldn’t talk about a prenup. Many just plain didn’t want to bring up the topic.
Some are afraid that it will be an embarrassing or even awkward discussion. When they are afraid to confront their fears, the inevitable result is that big money can be wasted through a long divorce proceeding. Worse still, their money may be given away to a spouse who cheats on them during their marriage.
In summary, couples now focus on the benefits of a prenup and not on the difficulties of the awkward discussion. And in the end, it’s much better to be open with your new spouse about finances. It can even make you one and trust each other that much more.