Prenups get something of a bad rap in popular and marriage blogs, but that doesn't mean you should write off getting one. A prenup can help make your marriage more equitable and develop the bond you share with your partner. There's a reason millennials are more likely to get prenups than previous generations despite having a lower divorce rate—today, we're exploring the benefits of prenuptial agreements.
At Orshan, Spann & Fernandez-Mesa, Family Law Attorneys, we'll work with you and your spouse's legal counsel to develop the ideal prenup for your marriage.
A Prenup Forces You to Discuss Important Topics with Your Partner
To draft a legally enforceable prenuptial agreement, both parties have to disclose their finances to one another. That means telling your partner what property you own, how much it's worth, whether you have any outstanding debts, your income, etc.
For many couples, that may seem intimidating. According to studies, around one or both partners cannot correctly identify how much money their significant other makes in around 34% of cohabiting couples. Other studies suggest that people prefer talking about other potentially divisive topics, such as marital discord, addiction, and politics, to discussing money with friends and loved ones. Think about it for a minute—when was the last time you heard someone at your workplace talk about how much they make, or money became a topic of conversation with your friends?
While discussing your income with your friends may not be necessary, you should know where your partner stands financially before you get married. Once you tie the asset, certain assets and liabilities you own will become marital property, meaning it belongs to both spouses. The last thing you probably want to do is merge finances with your partner, just to discover they have thousands of dollars in credit card debt they've been trying to hide from you. That's a liability you could be at least partially on the hook for if you ever get divorced.
Many newly married couples also take out loans together. While signing a lease for a house or vehicle with your partner may seem romantic, things could turn ugly if you end up going separate ways and one party can't hold up their end of the lease. You may be forced to pay your spouse's share of the loan in such a circumstance, since it may be considered marital property.
Putting aside concerns about how your finances may impact your marital property, money issues are also a leading cause of divorce among couples. Money problems are second only to infidelity when it comes to issues that break up marriages.
Discussing your finances while developing your prenup enables you to start an honest dialogue with your partner about finances. The sooner you can establish such a dialogue, the easier it will be for you to navigate money issues while you're married. While it may seem counterintuitive, getting a prenup can actually lead to a stronger marriage.
A Prenup Protects You (& Your Partner) While You're Married
Let's say you invest money as a hobby. There's a risky investment you want to pull the trigger on, but if it goes bad, you're going to end up in some debt.
If you're married and share finances with your partner, you may not want to follow through with the investment based on the concern any debt you accrue if the investment goes bad could turn into marital property your partner is also responsible for.
You can include a clause in your prenup stipulating that any debts you owe as a result of your investments are yours and yours alone, protecting your partner from accruing any debt from your financial activity.
You Protect Yourself if a Divorce Happens
Most people know that prenups include clauses for how couples will distribute property if a divorce occurs. While thinking about a potential divorce may not be romantic, it's also important to be practical.
If you own valuable property, such as a business or real estate, or have a job with good earning potential, a prenup can help you protect your future financial stability if you end up parting ways with your spouse.
For business owners, it's important to note that income generated by a business while a couple is married is often considered marital property during property division cases. Getting a prenup is the easiest way to ensure that your business remains your own if you end up dissolving your marriage.
You Can Always Sunset a Prenup
If you're wary about getting a prenup, it's also important to note that you can sunset your prenuptial agreement eventually.
A "sunset clause" can set an end-date for your prenup. For example, you can stipulate in your prenup that if you're still married to another after 50 years, the prenup will become invalid.
Using a sunset clause can help you strike a balance between practicality and romance while you develop your prenuptial agreement.
At Orshan, Spann & Fernandez-Mesa, Family Law Attorneys, we'll work with you and your partner's legal counsel to draft a comprehensive prenuptial agreement that safeguards your assets and leads to a more fulfilling union.