Prenuptial agreements, or “prenups” for short, are contracts that couples enter before getting married. The purpose of these legal planning documents is to establish each spouse’s financial and property rights in the event of a divorce. Some people think prenups are unromantic and signal a lack of trust between spouses. However, others see them as a sensible way to protect their assets in case things go wrong later on.
The answer depends on your circumstances when deciding if you should get a prenup. There are crucial factors to consider, such as whether you own your own business, have significant debt, or expect to inherit money or property. If you need to figure out whether a prenup is right for you, you should speak to a lawyer. Some factors to help you decide whether to get a prenup include:
- How long you’ve been together: If you’ve only been together for a short time, you may think that establishing a formal agreement would safeguard you against unforeseen circumstances.
- How much you trust each other: If you don’t think you know your partner well enough to trust them with your finances, a prenup can help give you peace of mind. This doesn’t mean that you might not trust your partner in the future, but if you’re not there yet, a prenup can provide some protection. Even if you are madly in love and trust your partner implicitly, you may feel like their financial literacy or money management skills are not up to par. A prenup can help set some ground rules to set you both up for success in the future.
- How much you have to lose: If you have significant assets, such as a house, a business, or pricy investments, you may want to consider a prenup to protect your interests in the event of a divorce. These are extremely high-ticket items that would be difficult to divide in the event of a divorce, and a prenup can help avoid any potential conflict down the road.
- How much you stand to gain: On the other hand, if you are the breadwinner in the relationship and your partner doesn’t have any significant assets, you may want to consider a prenup to protect yourself in the event of a divorce. This is especially true if you are planning on having children, as you may want to ensure that your financial interests are taken care of in the event that you divorce and your partner is awarded custody of the children.
- Your future plans: If you have specific plans for your future, such as starting a family or purchasing a new house, you may want to consider a prenup to help protect those plans. For example, if you are planning on having children, you may want to include a clause in your prenup that states how child support will be handled.
- Your age: If you are younger, you may feel like a prenup is unnecessary and that you don’t have enough assets to worry about. However, it’s important to remember that a prenup is not just about assets — it can also protect you from liability for your partner’s debt and can establish ground rules for how property will be divided.
Any combination of these factors can influence your decision on whether to get a prenup. Ultimately, the decision is personal, and there is no right or wrong answer. It’s important to sit down with your partner, discuss your financial situation openly and honestly, and seek professional advice if you’re unsure whether a prenup is right for you.
Q: What Are Common Myths About Prenuptial Agreements?
A: A common misconception is that prenuptial agreements are only for wealthy people. This is simply not true. Prenuptial agreements can be beneficial for people of any financial background. Another common myth is that prenuptial agreements are only for couples who are planning on getting divorced. This is also not true. Prenuptial agreements can situate couples for success in the event of divorce or death, in addition to providing a safeguard against any change in feelings or circumstances. It’s a responsible acknowledgment that even though you are in love now, you can’t predict the future.
Q: What Happens if I Don’t Have a Prenuptial Agreement?
A: If you don’t have a prenuptial agreement and you get divorced, the court will likely divide your assets equally between you and your spouse. This may not be what you want and may not be what you would define as fair. With a prenuptial agreement, you can decide ahead of time how to divide your assets, and you can be sure that the court will enforce the agreement. This is the ultimate goal of a prenuptial agreement: to provide certainty and peace of mind in an uncertain world.
Q: Can I Change My Prenuptial Agreement After I Get Married?
A: It is possible to change a prenuptial agreement after you’re married. However, it’s important to note that any changes must be made with the consent of both parties. If you try to change the agreement without your spouse’s consent, the court will not entertain the changes and will encourage you both to come to a mutual agreement.
Q: What Should I Include in My Prenuptial Agreement?
A: It’s important to tailor your prenuptial agreement to fit your specific needs and circumstances. However, there are some common elements that are often included in prenuptial agreements. These include provisions for the division of assets in the event of divorce or death, alimony, and the waiver of certain rights, such as the right to inherit from your spouse. You should also consider including a provision that allows for the agreement to be reviewed and updated periodically to ensure that it remains relevant to your changing needs and circumstances.
Overall, a prenuptial agreement is a way to protect yourself in the event of divorce or death. If you are ready to get married but have concerns about what would happen to your assets, a prenuptial agreement may be right for you. Contact an experienced Omaha family law attorney to learn more about prenuptial agreements and how they can benefit you.