There is a stigma attached to getting a prenup – perhaps that you do not trust your partner, or that your marriage is not going to last. However, the best way to think about it is like an insurance policy, same home insurance. While you do no plan on having your home catch on fire or be robbed, it is good that this protection is there when you need it. A prenuptial agreement provides protection that you hope you never need. But if the time arrives, you will be glad you have it. Ideally, once you have your prenup, you can just put it away and let it gather dust, never needing to look at it again.
Here are some reasons you should consider getting a prenup:
1. Knowledge is Power – The first step in getting a prenup is educating yourself as to what your family law rights and obligations are. Often when people separate, they are really surprised to find out what the law is. This is particularly the case for maintenance – people are shocked at the duration and amount that must be paid. I have often heard people say to me that they wish that they knew this when they got married. A prenuptial agreement is your chance to arm yourself with the appropriate knowledge so that this does not happen to you.
2. Avoid Change in the Law – Family law is an ever changing legal field. The law that applies today is not likely the law that applies five or ten years from now. You can lock things down, so that if the law changes, your legal rights do not change.
3. You are in Charge – The reality is that everyone has a prenup, whether they enter into one or not. The prenup is divorce and family law, which outlines a set or rules that apply to all couples if they separate. So, the issue is not really should you enter into a prenup, it is what do you want the prenup to say. A prenup gives you a change to determine your own book of rules, rather than have them set out for you.
4. Choice of Law – Just as family law may change over time, the family law that applies to you will change if you move to another state. So, your legal right may change significantly just because you had to move to another state for your job. A prenuptial agreement can set out which state’s laws apply in your situation.
5. Estate Planning – A prenup comes into effect when a relationship ends, which can either be by separation or death. Because of this, a prenuptial agreement can be used to protect your estate planning. For instance, if you are entering a second marriage, but want to ensure that your children from your first marriage receive the bulk of your estate when you pass away, a prenuptial agreement can be used to ensure that this happens.
There are many other reasons to enter into a prenup: protecting your assets, income, and inheritances, or conversely, making sure you are compensated for being a stay at home parent or any other career sacrifices you may make.