In the movies, everything’s more dramatic than in real life. A prenuptial agreement sounds like something arcane that only happens in rich people’s lives, like finding a secret codicil to a rich uncle’s will.
If what you want out of your marriage is a romantic story, you can stop reading here. If what you want is a stable, lasting marriage in the real world, you should seriously consider — and seriously discuss — getting a prenuptial agreement.
What real-world problems could a prenup help solve? You might be surprised
A prenuptial agreement is not a jinx on your marriage or the pre-plan for a divorce. A lot of people assume that the purpose of a prenup is to protect the assets of a wealthier spouse from the undeserving clutches of the less-affluent one.
That’s virtually never the case. While it’s true that some very wealthy individuals may choose to “protect themselves” from an iffy marital choice, even people with high assets rarely do. More commonly, one spouse comes into the marriage with existing children and a prenuptial agreement can protect those children and their existing inheritances should their parent die.
If you don’t have great wealth or children expecting inheritances, why would you need a prenuptial agreement? Your prenup wouldn’t be about those issues; it would be about the issues in your real life.
Do you have student loans? Have you talked about who will pay them if you become disabled and can’t work? If one spouse dies, will the other be stuck with the debt?
Are you planning on buying a house together? Have you talked about what you’ll do if the real estate market goes into freefall and you’re left with an unsellable house? What if one of you gets a great job offer in another state?
Notice how none of those questions included the word “divorce.”
A prenuptial agreement isn’t a jinx; it’s an opportunity. As personal finance expert Terry Savage says, “Just the very act of discussing and trying to come to an agreement — before you even see the attorneys — will help reveal what you have in common, and what might become a ‘dealbreaker,’ and you want to know these things before you get married!”
Source: Business Insider, “Here’s Why Every Couple Should Get A Prenup Before Marriage,” Libby Kane, Aug. 5, 2014