Many people associate prenuptial agreements (prenups) with celebrity relationships—contracts between wealthy individuals who don’t necessarily expect the marriage to last forever. A prenup is seen as an agreement that says, “I love you right now, but if this ends badly, I don’t want you to get my money.”
However, a prenup is actually much more than a divorce-planning tool. It can be an extraordinarily effective mechanism to assist a couple in planning their lives together. Each prenup is different, and you decide what terms you want to include. Here are some common questions a prenup can answer:
- If your spouse is coming into the marriage with significant debt, what is your responsibility for it?
- If your spouse goes back to school, how will one or both of you fund it?
- If your spouse is a business owner, what happens to the business in the event of their death?
- What happens if your spouse’s parent falls ill and needs to be cared for?
- How will any children—from a previous relationship or from this marriage—be provided for?
- If you inherit a family heirloom or significant assets, does your spouse also have a claim to it?
- How will you manage your shared finances—household expenses, joint bank accounts, credit card spending and savings contributions?
- How will you pay for your children’s education?
- How will you plan for your retirement?
- In the event of a dispute, do you want to use a mediator instead of a litigator?
As you can see, a prenuptial agreement provides an opportunity for a couple to take a step back and consider impactful, lifetime questions that they may not otherwise consider at the beginning of a marriage.