What You Probably Don’t Know About Prenups
Whatever your stance may be on prenuptial agreements you should at least know what it is that you are for or against. Prenuptial agreements have existed for thousands of years. They didn’t always look the way they do now. Seventeenth-century dowries served as one form of prenuptial agreements; the Hebrew marriage contract called the Ketubah, protecting a woman’s financial and legal rights, is another early version of the prenuptial agreement. Clearly, cultures across the world and through history have considered these agreements valuable. And maybe you should too. Since they can, however, be the cause of some arguments in a relationship, you should know all you can about them before bringing them up to your betrothed. Here are things you may not know about prenups.
They can protect your business
You may only be thinking about your personal assets when considering a prenup. Right now, so you’re so in love with your fiancé that you can’t imagine not wanting him to have what you have. But if you own a business with other people, you need to protect them with a prenup. Should you get a divorce without a prenup, your ex could own part of your business. Your partners didn’t sign up for that.
They can keep debts separate
If your partner enters into this marriage with a lot of debt, and you get a divorce, you could end up still helping them pay off their debt when you’re no longer even married. Unless you have a prenup that specifies you won’t be responsible for that.
They guard your estate
You have your place that you bought with your own money. But what about your family’s estate? And things like precious, centuries-old heirlooms? Are you willing to risk your partner getting something that affects and means something to your entire family because you didn’t get a prenup?
They split parenting responsibilities fairly
When you’re together, if one of you makes more money, then that person just pays for more of your children’s needs. But if you divorce, and you specifically quit your job to raise your kids because your partner asked you to, you could be left totally screwed. A prenup can ensure that your partner will carry the load of paying for your children’s life if you divorce and you’re unemployed, while he’s loaded.
They keep you from supporting your ex forever
Depending on how long you’re with your partner, state laws, and even other factors, you could end up supporting your ex for a very long time after a divorce. Only a prenup can protect you from that.
They deal with marital issues too
Prenups don’t only address finances in a divorce. They also help you define terms within the marriage. For example, how certain payments will be divided up while married (who is paying for renovations etc.)
They make divorce less of a headache
Most of a divorce is dividing up assets and fighting about spousal support. If you have a prenup, you already settled these things before getting married.
They make divorce cheaper
In case you haven’t heard, divorce is incredibly expensive. You can cut down on a lot of your lawyer’s fees if he doesn’t have to spend hours dividing up your assets.
If you don’t have one, the law will interfere
If you don’t have a prenup then state law might interfere and determine who gets what. The only way to protect yourself from that is with a prenup, or some very stressful days in court.
This is what a prenup costs
Between $1,200 and $2,400. If you split it, it’s not that much between you and your fiancé. And you can’t expect one another to kindly split divorce fees later, so you may as well split this cost while you’re getting along.
You do need a lawyer
You cannot write up your own prenup and have your partner sign it. In order for a prenup to be valid, a lawyer must create it.
You may need separate lawyers
Depending on your state’s law, you and your partner may need to have separate lawyers. That can be better, though, because they can hash things out while you and your fiancé go to lunch.
They will not cover child custody
Child custody is one thing that cannot be covered in a prenup. For better or for worse. You’ll have to battle that one out in the event of a divorce.
You can add just about anything
Aside from child custody, almost nothing is off limits in a prenup. You can add a fee for gaining weight, for cheating, for changing hair color…
They can have expiration dates
You can stipulate in your prenup that after X amount of years of marriage, it is no longer valid. Then you don’t even need to worry about drawing up documents to dissolve it later.