Long answer: A prenup, or prenuptial agreement if you’re being fancy, is a contract between two people who are getting married. Every prenup is different, but usually it lays out what will happen with regard to property and spousal support if the impending marriage ends in divorce. What exactly is covered and the terms to which clauses are held vary for each couple. Some prenups can even have so-called “sunset provisions” that allow for the prenup to expire after a certain amount of time.
Is it romantic to talk about both wedding invitations and who gets the boat when this relationship bites the dust? No, not particularly. But you live in the real world not a rom-com starring Kate Hudson, so you have to plan for the future. And getting this stuff out of the way when you’re super duper in love is a great idea. The alternative is fighting it out while you’re not particularly fond of each other, with no guarantee your assets will be protected, in what may become a very lengthy divorce battle. By the way, you guys have a boat?! Invite me over, I love boats!
Prenups are not ironclad decrees that are followed to the letter, but they are a really good foundation to work from during a divorce. It’s recommended both members of the couple have legal representation through the prenup drafting process. By the time you’re both ready to sign, you’ll have a great grasp on all your financials and feel confident knowing you’ve done all you can to protect the interests of future you.
So how do you bring up the whole prenup thing to your fiancée? Calmly and in a businesslike fashion. Also, not at the wedding as the picture above suggests. Explain how practical it is to get this stuff sorted now and emphasize how you’ll laugh about this on your golden wedding anniversary surrounded by a dozen cute grandkids. Does having this conversation sound uncomfortable to you? It shouldn’t. Open and honest communication is the basis of a healthy relationship, so let how you deal with this whopper really solidify how strong your marriage will be.
And, at the risk of sounding unromantic, it’s important to keep in mind a simple fact: all marriages end. They either end in death or divorce. Would your fiancée agree you need a Last Will and Testament? Of course! It’s the responsible thing to do. A Will prevents decisions from being made about the disposition of your property by the State and Federal legislature (chock full of politicians – see my prior post on the prospect of President Donald Trump). A prenup prevents decisions from being made about the disposition of your property by those same politicians in the event of divorce. To quote 70’s rock icons Rush: “If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.”
Still not sure if a prenup is right for you? Here’s a quick quiz for you two love birds to help you decide.
If I’ve got no big assets, should I get a prenup? Yes!
If I make more money than my spouse, should I get a prenup? Yes!
If I make less money than my spouse, should I get a prenup? Yes!
If I have kids from a previous relationship, should I get a prenup? Yes!
If I have a lot of debt or my spouse does, should we get a prenup? Yes!
If I own a house, should I get a prenup? Yes!
If I own a business, should I get a prenup? Yes!
If I am going to get an inheritance, should I get a prenup? Yes!
If I think prenups are unromantic and spoil the fairytale, should I get a prenup? Yes!
If I am in possession of a magical lamp that houses a genie who grants wishes, should I get a prenup? Yes and tell me more!
Prenups are for everyone, not just celebrities in Us Weekly. So, ignore the misogynistic undertones of the rest of the song and listen to Kanye, “If you ain’t no punk, holla we want prenup.” And if you’re more of a Drake fan (me too), heed his advice and, “Make sure you hit him with a prenup.”
It’s an important investment in your future and with the right attitude and a good lawyer, it can be a painless process that will give you peace of mind. If you never need to use it, great! Those grandkids can shred it and make confetti for your golden anniversary party.
Respectfully, James J. Sexton
P.S. – Are you already hitched sans prenup? Do not fret! You can always do a postnup, which is like a prenup except you can’t remember what color your wedding invitations were because it was so long ago.
Law Offices of James J. Sexton, P.C. / Offices in Rockland County & Manhattan