Ask Yourself If You Need a Prenup Before You Say “I Do”

The holidays are a wonderfully romantic time to get engaged, and the Christmas gift of an engagement ring can mean a wedding in the Spring. Soon-to-be brides will look forward to planning nuptials and enjoying bridal showers before the happy day. You should also think about important financial planning during this blissful time. No one plans a wedding while thinking about a divorce, but getting a prenuptial agreement may be an item you’ll want to check off on your to-do list. The conversation may be awkward but necessary, especially if it either of you holds assets such as a business or inherited money or real estate. It may smooth the way if you both realize a prenup lets you, not state laws, decide how you would want to divide property in case of divorce or death of a spouse. Ask yourself these four questions before you walk down the aisle.

Is Your Future Spouse in Debt?

Finding out about a potential spouse’s spending habits can save you a lot of grief in the future. An open and honest discussion can save your credit rating. A prenup can keep your spouse’s debt in their name.  Ask if they have outstanding debt, and if they do, ask them how much money they owe. With the protection of a prenup, you won’t be held responsible for your spouse’s future debt if they take out and max out multiple credit cards after the marriage.

Do You Own a Business?

A prenup blocks state laws that give your spouse half of the income or assets you’ve made during the marriage. A prenup also prevents state laws that would give your spouse half ownership in your business. You can control the outcome of a divorce if the marriage comes to an end by using a prenup to prevent those state laws from applying.

In the event of a potential divorce, a prenup ensures that you keep your own business interests. That’s important if you own a business going into the marriage or if you start a business after the wedding.

Are Your Assets Complex?

Complex assets require more protection. Family businesses and real estate are examples of interests that may need attention. If there are separate things in your name only that you want to protect in the event of divorce, you might want to consider a prenup.

Are You Moving to a Different State?

State laws concerning the division of assets in a divorce can differ, and moving across state lines can put assets you never thought would be divided in a divorce at risk. A prenup can protect those assets. Pay special attention if you plan to move after your marriage.

For example, a state such as New York is a ‘separate property’ state, while a state such as California is a ‘community property’ state. Recognizing the difference between those state laws highlights the need for a prenup to protect your assets.

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