Is a Prenup a Good Idea?

Deciding to get a prenuptial agreement can be difficult. Every couple is unique, so you have to make your decision based on your current circumstances. Depending on your personal situation, the answer to, “Is a prenup a good idea?” can vary.

Is a Prenup a Good Idea for You?

A prenup helps to document each spouse’s property separately, which makes it easier to avoid court involvement if you get divorced. This document helps determine what is community or marital property and any special arrangements between the pair.

The main reason to get a prenup is to establish procedures if there is a problem in the future and to avoid extended court proceedings. If there is a divorce, a prenuptial agreement may help you avoid some divorce attorney expenses. For debt, a prenup can help determine which spouse is responsible for debts like student loans, credit cards or mortgages.

There is a problem with a prenuptial agreement. Many couples do not want to talk about this topic. When you get married, the last thing you want is to be divorced someday. At the same time, you should certainly have a discussion about your finances. One of the most common reasons to get divorced is finances. Even if you do not have a prenuptial agreement, talking about your finances now can help avoid arguments in the future. At the very least, you and your spouse need to be on the same page about how you manage money, plan for the future and accrue debt.

The Drawbacks of a Prenuptial Agreement

Obviously, a prenup is not particularly romantic. While you are worried about your finances, you are also afraid that your partner will feel hurt if you bring up the topic. You are just starting out on a new marriage, which means discussing how the marriage could end is the last thing that you want to do. Couples could work around these problems by getting a postnup after they are married, but the rules about a postnup are a bit different.

In some cases, you might not need to have a prenuptial agreement at all. Certain state laws cover how property and debt is distributed during a divorce. If these laws already cover everything, then you might not need a prenup. In addition, your prenup cannot cover child custody problems or child support. Only the courts can determine what is in the best interest of the child, so your prenup would not make a difference.

If you do get a prenup, be aware that it is not always going to stay in force. The courts are legally able to set aside any provisions that are not just or fair. For example, imagine that Susie Q. contributed her paycheck to a her husband’s account each month. When they divorced, he kept the account and all of the paychecks she deposited. Despite a prenup, the courts would most likely rule that this was unfair due to Susie Q.’s significant contributions to the account. The courts also frequently set aside prenup provisions about alimony waivers or agreements.

Is a Prenup a Good Idea for You

If you have real estate, investments or expect to inherit significant wealth, a prenup can help determine who ultimately possesses these assets. A prenup may also be a useful tool of one partner has a significant debt load. Ultimately, the decision on a prenup depends entirely on what you and your partner need as well as your financial situation.

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