Are you getting married soon and are thinking of getting a prenup? Maybe your significant other already took the first step and had one put together. They gave it to you to take a look at and are waiting for you to sign. Business Insider recently wrote that more millennials are signing prenups these days. One of the reasons behind this trend can be that people are getting married later in life and have more time to acquire assets. It can also be useful if one of the people has significant student loan debt that they are bringing to the marriage.
As the weather turns from winter to spring, there are many summer weddings on the horizon. One of the more common questions I am asked is:
What Does A Prenup Do?
Each state has its own rules about what happens to your assets in case your marriage doesn’t work out. Much like a will, a prenup lets you choose what happens to your assets in case of a divorce. You can also use it to protect you from liabilities that your soon to be spouse has incurred before you got married. This can be especially helpful in the case of student loans.
What Doesn’t A Prenup Do?
You can’t use a prenup to create an illegal agreement (i.e. if you cheat on me, I get to chop off your finger). Another example of a provision that can’t be in a prenup is custody of children who haven’t been born yet. You also can’t limit child support or other rights for the children.
Do I Need A Lawyer?
As with seemingly every type of agreement these days, if you search hard enough online, you can probably find a website or company that will be happy to sell you a one-size-fits-all form that you can fill in with your soon to be spouse and call it a prenup. But as with many other agreements you can find online, what you pay for may not be what you need. It is probably a better idea to speak to an attorney to discuss whether you really do need a prenup.
Before that meeting, you will want to consider:
- Your goals for a prenup
- A list of your assets and liabilities
Most importantly, you’ll want to have a frank and open discussion with your soon to be spouse. Trying to create a prenup without a discussion is a recipe for disaster. You can end up with hurt feelings and a bit of distrust if it is not something that the two of you have discussed. You can’t “force” someone to sign a prenup – that would invalidate the agreement.