The myth is that merely thinking you need one means you’re contemplating that your marriage is going to fail. We have many things in life to insure against something going wrong, it doesn’t mean it’s expected, but that we’re being smart to have something in place just in case. Most importantly, a pre-nup addresses what happens in the event of death, which protects spouses and their families.
Who needs a Pre-Nup?
-Couples where one spouse earns more or is generally more wealthy than the other (or even has the potential to earn more)
-This is a 2nd or 3rd etc. marriage for either of you especially if one or both of you have children from a prior marriage
-One spouse has more debt than another
-One spouse owns a business, an interest in a business, or is the heir-apparent to a family business
-One spouse plans to quit their job or take an extended absence from their profession in order to raise a family
What can a Pre-Nup do?
-Specify how future income is to be shared (or not)
-Specify how assets, current or acquired in the future, are to be owned
- Specify how debt will be managed or incurred
-Keep your estate plan in place by agreeing to waive survivorship rights in each other’s estates
-Waive spousal support in event of divorce
-Waive death benefits (i.e. military)
-Limit the time, expense and emotional energy spent in marriage dissolution proceedings
-Limit tension between families in event of the death of a spouse
Broaching the subject with your significant other
-Do it well in advance of the wedding, in “neutral” territory.
-State your concerns (reasons for contemplating one), present an idea and be open to discussion and negotiation on the points of the agreement.
-Do NOT make it an ultimatum, an “all or nothing,” or a one-sided proposition, it is about protecting both of you and establishing expectations that you both have.
Sample Conversation Starter
“Let’s talk about our future, our lifestyles, and present and future finances. I want to make sure all money issues are addressed and resolved in an agreement. Then we won’t have them hanging over us when we get married and we both know what is expected of us.”