While it is not ideal, divorce has become commonplace in modern life. Perhaps it is for this reason that many attorneys report seeing an increase in the number of couples seeking a prenuptial agreement.
A prenup is a document a couple receives before marriage. It lays out how the couple will divide assets in the event of divorce. It can make the divorce process much simpler, but many couples hesitate to get one because it is not exactly a romantic document to sign right before marriage. Ideally, every couple should get a prenup, but there are cases where it becomes even more important.
One or both partners hold many assets
Before marriage, both partners should look at their assets. To determine if a prenup would be preferable, there are various questions for each of them to ask themselves, including:
- Have you invested in profit sharing or stock options?
- Do you have any retirement benefits currently saved away?
- Do you own at least part of a business?
- Do you make more than $100,000 annually?
- Do you actually own real estate?
If either of them answered "Yes" to any of these questions, then a prenup would be highly recommended. It is good to have a plan in place for how these assets become divided in case a divorce occurs.
Both partners want the other to bring everything to the table
Many couples marry without knowing absolutely everything about their partners. With a prenuptial agreement, both partners need to present everything they own. This prevents one partner from having any hidden assets. It also forces both partners to be transparent with any debt they hold. Part of a prenup can specify that in the event of a divorce, one partner's debt will not go to the other.
With all this in mind, there are certain things couples cannot do with a prenup. For example, they cannot determine who receives custody of any children the couple eventually produces.