You're ready to say "I do," but before you walk down the aisle, your partner wants to discuss the possibility of signing a prenup.
A prenuptial agreement may not be romantic, but it can provide you and your partner with protection in case of divorce.
Here are six questions to ask before you sign on the dotted line:
1. Do You Really Need a Prenup?
Most people assume that prenuptial agreements are only useful for the financial elite. But even if you're not a member of the 1% club, a prenup may still make sense for you and your partner.
Maybe you were burned in a previous divorce. Maybe you plan to launch a business in the near future. Maybe you have a business already.
If you have assets that you want to protect or plan to have significant assets in the future, it may be smart to sign a prenup.
It's important to be aware that a prenup isn't foolproof (it can be thrown out of court), but it puts you at an advantage should you decide to get divorced.
2. Are You Comfortable Disclosing All of Your Assets to Your Partner?
In order for a prenup to be valid, both parties must make full disclosure of his or her assets. Are you comfortable sharing this information with your partner?
Both you and your partner will need to present complete financial statements, which should cover:
- Income tax returns
- Bank accounts
- Real estate information
- Security accounts
- A list of vehicles
- Outstanding loans
Some financial statements are more complex, particularly if one partner owns a business. Both you and your partner will need to have independent when drafting your agreement. Your lawyer will work with you to ensure that your financial statement is complete.
3. Do You Have Any Business Assets that You Need to Protect?
Prenups are popular with entrepreneurs, and for good reason: You want to protect the one thing you've worked so hard to build.
Whether you're just launching your startup or you've been running your business for years, you may want to consider a prenuptial agreement if you want to protect your company's assets.
Make sure that the agreement includes specific protection for your business.
4. Do You Plan to Have Children?
Maybe you plan to have a family of six. Maybe you haven't discussed kids at all. In either case, now may be a good time to broach the subject, especially if you want your assets to be split a certain way if you have children and decide to divorce.
A prenuptial agreement can contain clauses that detail how your assets will be divided amongst your children. If you can't come to an agreement on this topic right now, your agreement can be revised in the future after (or if) you have children.
5. Does Your Partner Have Good or Bad Credit?
When you enter a marriage, you enter a partnership. Maybe you don't care whether your partner has good or bad credit. But if you do care – and your partner's credit is less than perfect – you may want to consider a prenup.
While not completely foolproof, a prenup can help minimize the debt you incurr should you and your partner divorce.
Make sure that the agreement clearly defines who is responisble for each debt if the two of you decide to split.
6. Are You Both on the Same Page When it Comes to Finances?
With most couples, one is usually the spender and the other the saver. But before you sign a prenup, you should both be on the same page when it comes to finances.
- Who will make the financial decisions?
- Will one of you be responsible for paying the bills?
- Have you discussed your long-term financial goals?
Asking and answering these questions will make it much easier to draft and sign a prenup that's more likely to stand up in court.
A prenuptial agreement is the right option for every couple, but it's a topic that every couple should consider discussing before tying the knot. No one plans for divorce, but if it does happen, you and your partner will be better prepared with a prenup in place.