“Why would I put myself through writing a prenup? Isn’t that for celebrities on their fifth marriage?”
Bet the person who coined “the more, the merrier” wasn’t talking about marriages. Like estate plans and net worth, prenuptial agreements aren’t just for celebrities. In layman’s terms, a prenup is a legal agreement that lists an individual’s assets entering the marriage and outlines the rights to those assets should the marriage end. Incredibly romantic, we know.
But let’s go back to why you, the non-millionaire, may need one. Let’s say your family has a country cabin where you’ve spent every summer since you were nine, and you’re set to inherit this place after your parents pass away. You’d want to protect that home should something happen to your marriage- especially if you live in a community property state- even if it’s more of an upgraded shack than a second home.
Enter the prenup. You can keep your rustic shack out of any court proceedings, as well as safeguard the antique collection that runs in your family. You can also shield any assets you want to pass along to children from a previous relationship; and if you’re a small business owner, you can protect the assets of your business. So if you want that shack in the woods, consult a lawyer in the state where you live- property laws vary by state and could impact how your premarital assets are handled. Some prenups also discuss specific alimony requirements or how to split assets acquired during your marriage.
Of course, you’ll want to figure all this out long before your wedding, not the week before. If not, that’s cool too: you can also meet with a lawyer to outline a postnuptial agreement after you’re married, though a prenup has more legal clout. You can draft your own prenup, but both you and your spouse will need separate lawyers to review the agreement. Fun fact: You can make any wacky provisions you like in a prenup, but you can’t write in any limitations to child support, custody, or visitation rights.
Next, both you and your spouse sign off on the agreement… and likely never speak of it of again unless you divorce. With a lowering rate of divorce in the U.S., we’re betting that you, your spouse, and your future family will continue to have many enjoyable summers in that non-air conditioned country cabin.