Should You Sign a Prenup? Four Factors to Consider Before You Don’t

Gone are the days when prenuptial agreements were the reserve of the rich. Nowadays, many couples who marry at a later stage in life—including an ever-growing proportion of millennials—are going the prenup route before tying the knot.

Prenup
Shutterstock Licensed Photo – By karen roach

If you’re on the fence, understanding why people elect to protect their assets before marrying will help you make an informed decision.

You Want More Control As a Couple

One way to see a prenuptial agreement is as a way of managing your and your partner’s expectations in the event of a split. If you have not set this down in some way, shape or form—legally or otherwise—you risk hitting this difficult time with no sense of what your future holds. Without a prenup in place, the decision on how assets should be split between the two parties comes down to the court. (And if you’ve ever been involved in a court case, you’ll know that often a judge’s decision comes down to how they’re feeling on the day… you don’t want your court date to fall on a day your judge happens to be suffering from indigestion, for example!) On the flipside, signing a prenup is a way to ensure that you get to decide as the couple how the cards fall.

One of You Stands to Lose More Than the Other

When either partner personally owns significant capital and the other does not, a prenup can be a sensible way for the more financially at-risk spouse to protect their assets. If you own a property portfolio, or you stand to acquire valuable assets over the course of your marriage, a prenup might be wise. An asset protection attorney can help you plan ahead for the unfortunate event of a marital split and ensure that you don’t come out the other end having suffered financial loss.

One of You Has Significant Debt

When comparing assets to decide if a prenup is right for you as a couple, the negative values each of you brings to the table should be taken into consideration. Whether it’s credit card debt or student debt, make sure you factor that lack of value into your overall calculations. If one partner is heavily in debt—even if debt consolidation offers a brighter outlook—the other partner could be left carrying the can if the marriage doesn’t stay the course and a prenup was not agreed.

You Dream of Having a Family

Many people get married dreaming of a big house, two kids and a Labrador. But sadly, not every marriage turns out to be a fairy-tale. Adding children to the mix can put a strain on a marriage, and even the strongest couples sometimes fold under the pressure of rearing a family alongside nurturing career ambitions. Being realistic about this prospect is sensible if having children is in the pipeline for you. If you split up, you will need to decide how the children—and pets—will be provided for financially. If you and your partner feel that this is not something to be left to chance, signing a prenup can help you set these crucial agreements in stone for the children’s sake.

Whether you’re head over heels in love, or you consider yourself a realist, these tips will help you weigh the pros and cons of a prenup before dismissing it out of hand. You never know what’s going to happen in the future.