Whether you get engaged on Valentine’s Day or any other time during the year, the least romantic question about a forthcoming marriage is whether or not to create a prenuptial agreement (often referred to as a prenup or prenup agreement). The prenup is a contract that fiances may sign before their wedding day which describes and allocates what will happen to them financially in case they divorce.
It may seem hypocritical to some to make plans for a divorce before the day you pledge to share your lives together forever — for richer, for poorer, right? Unfortunately, the ugly truth is that many marriages end in divorce and divorce can be extremely messy. This is particularly true if one or both people have children from a prior marriage, substantial assets, a business, or a potential inheritance.
Rather than spending massive amounts of money on divorce lawyers, a financially sound step to take is to invest in a prenuptial agreement. Each person will need to hire their own lawyer; this is one of the few times when a couple most certainly shouldn’t share.
It’s important to sign a prenuptial agreement long before the wedding date. The problem is that if you sign it just before walking down the aisle, it could be legally challenged later. You don’t want there to be any suggestion that one person was coerced into giving up their rights to make the wedding go on time.
Ideally, you’ll be able to broach the subject of a prenuptial agreement long before the actual wedding proposal. It can be an awkward subject, but it will also give you a good opportunity to judge whether or not the two of you are ready to make the step into marriage. Depending how the conversation goes, the following statements might arise:
“If you trusted me, you wouldn’t need me to sign a prenup.”
“If you trusted me, you wouldn’t mind signing a prenup.”
If either of these statement does, seriously consider postponing the wedding until you both can come to an agreement that you are satisfied with. Statements like those simply mean you have a lot more talking to do before you are ready for marriage.
(Photo courtesy of Steven Tom)