If you are getting remarried you may want to consider a prenuptial agreement. But prenups seem to have gotten a bad rep; the misconception is that they are written to protect just one person, and that asking for one is a sign of mistrust…but that is far from the truth.
When you were young and in love jumping the broom was an understatement – chances are you wanted to hurdle over it. Even though you probably didn’t have much of anything, life couldn’t get any better than being with the one you love. And because of your humble beginnings, getting a prenuptial agreement likely never crossed your mind.
Unfortunately, for some of us, the dream of more years with this special someone came tumbling down. If you were separated from your spouse by either divorce or death, getting over the heartache is just half the battle, and moving on may be like starting a brand new life – all over again.
But if you are fortunate enough to have love come knocking on your door again, and you’ve found someone worthy enough to spend the rest of your days with, you will likely be a lot more cautious than you were the first time around. You may not be hurdling over the broom this time, but rather tiptoeing over it. This time you are far more experienced, and wiser than ever.
In your first marriage you didn’t have all that you have now, you’ve passed Go a few times, and collected some coins along the way. You may have a business, a hefty retirement savings that you’ve worked hard for, children that you want to protect and take care of, and you don’t want to risk putting any of this in jeopardy.
Since going through the process of remarriage can be a gut wrenching thought already, asking for a prenup seems like the last thing you want to do. You don’t want to give the impression that you don’t trust your partner or question their character. My friend, please understand this: Bringing up the idea of a prenup isn’t a matter of mistrust, but instead it adds an ongoing sense of security for you by protecting and delegating your assets.
For many folks, money is a hard and uncomfortable thing to talk about, but you have to set your emotions aside and have the conversation. In the end you’ll be glad that you did. After you and your partner both understand the value of a prenup, it would be alarming if your spouse was still outrageously opposed to getting one.
There is no need to fear, a prenup is simply slicing your pie, and everyone likes pie. If you bring a sweet potato pie and your spouse brings an apple pie, a prenup determines how much of your pie each of you will share with each other, save for your children, and how much pie you are keeping to yourself. And if you were to bake your own pecan pies together, it will determine what will happen to the pies if one of you were to leave the kitchen. At the end of the day you will both enjoy apple, sweet potato, and pecan pie. Hopefully with some ice cream too.
A prenuptial agreement will take care of the following:
Assets and liabilities: What assets are each of you bringing into your marriage? You can determine which assets will be owned jointly or individually. You will also determine what liabilities each of you have, such as debt and back taxes.
Divorce: If the marriage ended, a prenup will determine how will you divide assets that each of you brought into the marriage as well as assets gained during the marriage. You can decide if either spouse will a receive lump-sum cash settlement or alimony. (It’s better to sort this out while you’re still in love.)
Estate planning: What will children from previous marriages receive? What will the children you have together receive?
Special contributions of partners: If one spouse contributes to the marriage in a special way such as a mother leaving the workforce to take care of the family, a prenup will determine how she will be provided for? It can also determine what to do if one spouse is bringing in more liabilities than the other.
Prenups are not just around just in case Oprah decides to marry Stedman, they are to protect and delegate any and all of your assets. But trying to spell out the details of your prenuptial agreement on your own can get pretty ugly. You still want to make it to the alter and say, “I do”. So, it is best that each of you consult individual attorneys to help negotiate an agreement that will protect your financial interests in a peaceful manner.
Getting a prenuptial agreement isn’t at all a sign of mistrust. It is a sign that both of you have the best interest of each other in mind. If you and your partner can come to an agreement on how to handle your financial interests you are already making the right strides towards a successful marriage, and this is all with the added security of having your financial house in order.