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Thinking About a Prenup? Here’s What You Need to Know

Wedding planning is, shall we say…a process. From choosing the wedding party to picking out flowers, there’s a lot involved. It’s no wonder many people tend to forget about what happens after the big day. One of the biggest decisions for some couples is regarding marital assets – whether or not to sign a prenuptial agreement (or prenup).

If you’re considering a prenup (or just want to learn more about it) here’s what you need to know:

What Is a Prenup?

There are typical marital laws in each state that govern the division of assets, property, savings, and retirement benefits. A prenup is a written agreement a couple creates that overrides these laws and dictates what would happen in the event of death or divorce.  Like a marriage, a prenup is a legally binding agreement.

If you’ve heard of a prenup, you’ve probably heard of it in the context of super wealthy couples with significant assets – that said, couples of all kinds of financial backgrounds have chosen to structure their union with the additional support of a prenup.

Why Get One?

There are many reasons couples decide to enter into prenups (and none of the reasons are because they’re wealthy and famous). Some of those factors could include:

  • Protecting family wealth or family business
  • Trust funds or other inheritance
  • Previous divorce settlements
  • Protecting each other from previous debt
  • Keeping family assets and heirlooms within the family
  • Protecting the inheritance for children from a previous marriage

While no one wants to think about divorcing their partner before they are even married, circumstances, people and compatibility can all change over time – which is why having a plan is so important.

Pros & Cons Of A Prenup

When considering the benefits and pitfalls of a prenup and what kind of effect (if any) it could have on the future of your marriage, these are a few of the factors to consider:

Pros

  • Additional examination and analysis of financial matters
  • Preserves family ties and protects inheritance and lineage
  • Children from previous marriages are protected financially
  • Personal and business assets accrued before marriage are protected
  • Airs out all the “skeletons in the closet” and puts everything on the table
  • Eliminates the battles over finances in the event of divorce

Cons

  • Can set the precedent of ‘planning for divorce’
  • Can cause serious friction between partners
  • Give the impression there is a lack of trust
  • Not what most people consider a “romantic” gesture
  • Can create resentment (from the partner who was served with it to the partner who requested it)
  • Prenups can be nullified if all assets or financials aren’t properly disclosed
  • Partner could choose not to sign, delaying the wedding

While some people claim that prenups take the romance out of a marriage by ‘planning for divorce’, you could actually spin it as just the opposite. In a way, prenups can actually be seen as a pretty romantic gesture. By taking assets, inheritance, and wealth out of the picture, you and your partner are proving to one another that you are not marrying for material gain, and are instead marrying solely for love and companionship. And, really, what’s more romantic than that?

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