What You Need to Know about Prenuptial Agreements
You probably aren’t thinking about prenups while you’re basking in that newly-engaged glow, but check out this advice from divorce attorney and founder of HelloPrenup, Julia Rodgers, about why you should consider one before you head down the aisle.
Dear Brides: Let’s Talk About Prenups!
So, you ask, “why should I get a prenup? I’m happily engaged, my fiance and I trust each other implicitly.” We know this is true, so let’s talk about how a prenup can benefit all engaged couples.
What makes a successful marriage?
In our humble opinion, good communication. Once you have been married for a period of time, romance takes on a whole new meaning. And, if you were expecting the traditional romance of rom-coms in a real marriage, you will be very, very disappointed. Long-term-marriage-romance is not the romance of idolizing someone’s every move and galloping off into the sunset. It’s not the fleeting, dating or newlywed romance from the movies, where you are still pinching yourself and fixating on whether this is really happening.
“Romance” in a happy, long-term marriage becomes a product of good communication and patience. In order to make it to a decade of marriage, you will need to communicate about not-so-romantic things. You will need to strategize, and plan to execute as a team. If you don’t have significant income or assets now, you may plan to acquire some in the future. You will need to manage those assets and income, you may buy property together, and you will undoubtedly have to pay taxes and bills together.
If you have kids, multiply all of this by 10x, and add in a double dose of chaos. The key to a successful marriage with children is constant communication and very very clear expectations with your spouse. And guess what? Luckily, this version of romance is more sustainable, more profound, and more fulfilling than the shallow romance of idealization that comes with the honeymoon phase.
What does a prenup have to do with any of this?
A prenup acts as a tool for communication. The act of discussing and negotiating a prenup gives couples a platform with which to open up in-depth communication about topics they may not have broached so deeply before. Many couples find that through the process of creating a prenup, they learn new things about one another’s needs, expectations, boundaries, and even their dreams. This structured inquiry into planning the future of their relationship as well as how they plan to take care of not only themselves but also each other, leads both partners to a deeper understanding of one another. In the words of a quote attributed to Native American wisdom, love and understanding are the same thing. The more you understand someone, the more deeply you can love them. What’s more romantic than that?
Back to Basics: What is a prenup & what can it do?
A prenuptial agreement (or as the kids say, “prenup”) is a legal agreement between two fiancées who are engaged to be married. A prenup must be executed before marriage. That’s right, you cannot wait until after the big day to create your prenup.
A prenup agreement outlines property rights and financial arrangements that you and your betrothed decide on as a condition of marriage. In doing so, it allows you to decide what property (cash, savings, investments, houses, cars, inheritance, businesses, etc.) or debt (credit card debt, student loans, etc.) will be considered “separate” (only yours…) or “marital” / “community” property (property of the marriage).
In addition, prenups can address spousal support/alimony concerns, and clarify financial rights and responsibilities during a marriage. Prenups can also protect family inheritance, which despite common belief, is not automatically considered separate property in many states.
What happens if I don’t get a prenup?
If you do not have a prenup in place and you get divorced, the divorce law of your state will determine how your property will be divided. There are two different theories that states operate under when it comes to property: Community Property vs. Equitable Division (aka Equitable Distribution). If you live in a state that is considered a Community Property state, the property that you earned or acquired during the course of your marriage may be subject to a 50/50 split. We say ‘may,’ because some Community Property states may have other statutes that alter this very, very general definition.
There are nine states considered Community Property states. In the remainder of states that operate under Equitable Division, marital property may be subject to a fair distribution of the property between the spouses, but not necessarily an equal split. And, this split usually depends on many different factors that are complicated and may be found in state statutes or in case law. The bottom line? The courts have tremendous discretion when determining the division of property, and each state’s laws are different.
The fact that your state has the right to control how your assets are divided in case of divorce sounds really weird, right? After all, it’s YOUR stuff…
You may be thinking, “Shouldn’t I have a say in what happens if things don’t work out?”
Simply put – YES! You two should absolutely have a say in that.
Here’s the thing – if you don’t “say” before marriage what will happen to your assets, debt, property, inheritance, dogs, etc., and you get divorced in the future, then you are allowing default state laws and guidelines to decide for you. Those laws may not take into consideration arrangements that would have been preferable to you.
Aren’t prenups expensive and time consuming?
They don’t have to be! HelloPrenup costs just $599 per couple. This is a fraction of the cost of going the traditional route where each fiance hires an attorney, which can cost closer to $5,000. In addition, HelloPrenup is a time-efficient process. It takes about 1.5 hours to complete and download your agreement!
HelloPrenup is simple and easy to use. Check out the steps below:
- Step 1: Take a look at this page to learn about how HelloPrenup works.
- Step 2: Sign up for HelloPrenup and invite your fiancé to join the conversation.
- Step 3: Download and print your prenup! HelloPrenup charges a flat rate of $599 per couple.
- Step 4: Decide whether you would like to hire an attorney for legal advice or representation before signing before a notary.
- Step 5: VOILA! GET MARRIED!
It is worth having an attorney review your prenuptial agreement with you in the case where you have legal questions or if your assets are complex, you have significant family inheritance, you own a business, among others. In these situations, you can still use HelloPrenup to help save on cost! HelloPrenup allows you the option of downloading your prenup into a Word doc, so you can easily bring it to an attorney to provide advice or edits if necessary.
Prenuptial agreements can create clarity and understanding where there is often a lot of confusion. If you haven’t had explicit, detailed conversations about money, business arrangements, inheritance, or life goals, it is likely that you are assuming what your future spouse’s expectations are.
A prenup can create structure and transparency in these areas. At HelloPrenup, we believe that by taking the issues of finances in marriage seriously prior to tying the knot, you are investing in your future emotionally and financially – and will likely have a more successful marriage because of it.
💰 Exclusive wedding deal offer
Don’t forget that B$B readers get access to an exclusive discount from HelloPrenup!
Get $50 off your prenuptial agreement from HelloPrenup!
HelloPrenup was founded by Julia Rodgers, a Massachusetts divorce attorney, and Sarabeth Jaffe, a Seattle-based software engineer. The women founded HelloPrenup with the goal of making the prenup creation process more collaborative, less expensive, and faster. HelloPrenup has been featured on SharkTank and in Forbes, Geekwire, the Boston Globe, Lawyers Weekly, the American Bar Association Journal, among others.
All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. HelloPrenup, LLC (“HelloPrenup”) makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information in this guest post blog. Also, HelloPrenup will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. HelloPrenup provides a platform for contract-related self-help. The information provided by HelloPrenup along with the content on its website related to legal matters (“Information”) is provided for private use and does not constitute legal advice.
HelloPrenup does not review any information provided to us by customers for legal accuracy or sufficiency, draw legal conclusions, provide opinions about customers’ selection of forms, or apply the law to the facts of individual situations. If you need legal advice for a specific problem, you should consult with a licensed attorney. Neither HelloPrenup nor any information provided by Hello Prenup is a substitute for legal advice from a qualified attorney licensed to practice in an appropriate jurisdiction.