Being asked to sign a prenuptial agreement makes even the most confident person feel uncomfortable and unsure of their partner’s commitment to the marriage. The common question is, “Are they asking me to sign a prenup because they don’t think the marriage will last?”
These are valid questions and concerns. This article will walk you through your concerns and guide you toward deciding whether you should sign a prenuptial agreement. By the end of this article, you should have the confidence to know if you should sign a prenuptial agreement or not.
What is a prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two individuals who intend to marry. A prenuptial agreement is only valid after the wedding. A prenuptial agreement should benefit both parties. It should not be a lopsided agreement that only benefits one party.
The prenuptial agreement should cover how the couple will divide property, debt allocation, and alimony (sometimes referred to as spousal support) in the event of a divorce.
Typically, a prenuptial agreement addresses financial issues, but in some states, it can also address non-financial topics such as confidentiality, pet ownership, lifestyle choices, and even infidelity. A prenuptial agreement helps you and your partner resolve specific financial and lifestyle issues and can also be used to align your goals and expectations of each other during the marriage.
A prenuptial agreement can facilitate open communication and discussions about complex topics. For instance, you may have paid off a condominium before meeting your significant other and intend to keep it as your separate property. Is your spouse aware of this? Perhaps they believed the condo would be a shared asset, and they considered it theirs as well. This conversation is required during the prenuptial agreement process and can help couples align their desires.
Who Should Have a Prenuptial Agreement?
Contrary to popular belief, prenuptial agreements are available to everyone, not just the wealthy. I have written about this in an article, Prenuptial Agreements are not Just for the Rich.
Prenuptial agreements can benefit women as well. All ages and genders can benefit from prenuptial agreements.
A prenuptial agreement is advantageous for many reasons. The following individuals, regardless of gender, should consider obtaining a prenuptial agreement:
- You wish to safeguard specific assets, such as your home or retirement fund.
- You wish to safeguard the family fortune, such as a future inheritance or family gifts.
- You desire protection from your partner’s debt, such as student loans and credit card debt.
- You are a stay-at-home parent with no income of your own.
- One partner is significantly wealthier than the other.
- You are on your second or third marriage.
- You have children from a previous relationship and wish to safeguard their inheritance.
- You own a business or intend to start one. Yes, your spouse can take a portion of your business in the event of a divorce; therefore, put pen to paper.
- You have pets from before the marriage and want to ensure that ownership and possibly visitation rights are sorted out in the event of a divorce.
- You wish to maintain a private lifestyle by avoiding specific images or information on social media.
- You fear infidelity. Infidelity clauses can be addressed in a prenuptial agreement, but they are not enforceable in most states.
- Before marriage, you must agree on financial roles, objectives, and expectations.
- You seek the peace of mind that “marriage insurance” can provide. This means less time and money will be spent on divorce and financial protection proceedings.
Should I Be Offended if My Partner Proposes a Prenuptial Agreement?
This question always comes up. I tell my clients not to waste the opportunity to learn if this is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.
You will learn a lot about your spouse through the prenuptial agreement offer. Is the prenuptial agreement fair and reasonable, or is it one-sided and appears aggressive, greedy, and manipulative? These things can tell you a lot about your to-be spouse.
A prenuptial agreement may be improper if it is grossly unfair or lopsided. The ideal prenuptial agreement considers both parties’ objectives, resulting in a win-win situation.
The prenuptial agreement should focus on the needs and desires of both parties, not just the demands of one. If your partner is being unreasonable and one-sided in negotiating the prenuptial agreement, you may want to think long and hard about spending your life with this person.
Is a Prenuptial Agreement a Good Idea for a Woman?
There are many reasons why women should consider signing prenuptial agreements, but the difference in wealth is one of the most important ones. Not the wage gap but the wealth gap. This is the wealth accumulation of men compared to women. As you may have guessed, the gender wealth gap in our society favors men. The disparity in wealth is not entirely attributable to the gender pay gap.
Women usually take care of children and do housework is a big reason for the wealth gap. Women must take time off for childbirth, sometimes during pregnancy, followed by several weeks or months to recover and care for their newborn. Women are also more likely to sacrifice their careers to raise their children. This results in less money being accumulated over time.
Less wealth and reliance on a partner can reduce a woman’s financial freedom and influence in the marriage. A prenuptial agreement can help balance a relationship’s wealth disparity and power imbalance. Putting together a prenuptial agreement to give women more financial power can help couples work together and talk to each other about this issue.
I have written on the 10 Things a Woman Should Ask for in a Prenuptial Agreement. If you are a woman being asked to sign a prenuptial agreement, you do not want to miss out on learning what you should consider asking for.
What Should Be Included in a Woman’s Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement that eliminates the wealth gap between the sexes may cover multiple topics. Alimony and spousal support in the event of a divorce should be discussed in a prenuptial agreement. If you can’t agree on alimony, the couple can consider providing more assets to the wife who stayed home with the children in the event of a divorce. For example, in a divorce, the mother may receive ownership of the home instead of alimony.
Salary for Every Year Spent Raising the Children
The prenuptial agreement could specify that in the event of divorce, the wife receives a lump sum of money in place of a yearly salary for every year she spends at home with the children. This would be an excellent prenuptial agreement provision for closing the gender wealth gap.
There are numerous creative ways a couple can make a fair prenup for both parties, empowers the woman, and promotes a balanced relationship.
There is no universal rule regarding whether or not women should obtain a prenuptial agreement. It ultimately depends on each couple’s unique circumstances. Some women may benefit from a prenuptial agreement if they have substantial assets, such as real estate or businesses, that they wish to protect in the event of a divorce.
Others may desire a prenuptial agreement if they have children from a previous relationship and want to provide for them in the event of their demise. Others may prefer a prenuptial agreement if they have substantial financial obligations, such as student loan debt, that they wish to clarify in the event of a divorce.
Whether or not a woman should sign a prenuptial agreement will ultimately depend on her circumstances and what she hopes to protect. To ensure that any prenuptial agreement is fair and legally binding, it is vital to discuss this decision with an attorney.