So What’s the Deal With Prenups Anyway?
15 Jun 2021 •4 min read
When Kim Kardashian and Kanye West made headlines by announcing their impending divorce—and assuming you were pouring over the story just as much as us—you may have noticed a word being mentioned an awful lot: prenup. In fact, it’s a pretty common word to see in a lot of celebrity marriage and divorce stories, but that probably has nothing to do with the rest of us...right?
Well, it’s not quite as simple as that. But before we get down to details, let’s first do a basic bit of defining:
“Prenup” is short for “prenuptial agreement” or, in simple terms, a written contract created by two people before they get married. A prenup usually includes a discussion of assets each person is coming into the marriage with and what will happen with those assets if the marriage were to end in divorce.
We don't consider divorce a dirty word here at Loverly. Though it may not be the most pleasant thing for you to consider at this exact moment, it is a basic reality for many couples. It’s an important consideration before you enter into a marriage, whether you like it or not. A prenup allows for some of the details to be worked out in advance, saving both partners time, energy, and, oftentimes, money while working out the divorce proceedings.
Here are a few of the most common questions about prenups answered. This is not an extensive guide to the intricacies of prenups (and should not be taken as actual legal advice!) but we do hope that we can at least take away part of the mystery of what a prenup actually is.
Do I need a prenup if I’m not wealthy?
As mentioned above, prenups are most often used when talking about the richest of the rich (movie stars, politicians, athletes, etc). But just because you might not sell out stadiums doesn’t mean you don’t have assets. Remember that a prenup is designed to protect each of you going in and coming out of a marriage; if a spouse quits their job to help with childcare or to move across the country for their partner’s dream job before getting divorced, a prenup might designate certain financial assistance from their ex-spouse.
Not everyone decides a prenup is right for them, which is completely okay! But one important consideration is where you and your spouse live. States have varying laws about asset allocation after a divorce or the death of a spouse, and a prenup is a way of superseding state law. It might make more sense for you depending on where you are geographically located.
What does the process of creating a prenup look like? Can I do it myself?
To answer the second question first, quite simply, you shouldn’t. A prenup is a legally binding document, so it’s in everyone's best interest to consult with lawyers and make sure that the language and stipulations within the prenup are agreed upon by both parties. Some states even require that you each have separate lawyers to ensure that everything is above board.
It should be noted that because of this, there is a fee associated with creating a prenup. You are paying for a lawyer’s time (or two lawyers’ time!) so there is a financial consideration to this process. You should be prepared with all financial records of your assets—think the appraisals of your car and your home, your retirement fund, your most recent tax forms—as well as those of your liabilities, which can include student loans, credit card debt, or your mortgage. Being prepared can help save you hours of legal fees, so make sure to be as transparent as possible when gathering your materials.
My spouse wants a prenup. Does that mean they don’t trust or love me?
Finally, this is probably one of the most common questions regarding prenups, and we want to take a moment to tell you that there are many, many more reasons to ask for a prenup than thinking that your marriage will inevitably end in divorce. At its core, a prenup should be created to protect both partners and to ensure that everyone is taken care of in the future.
While it’s surely not what you might want to be thinking about during your engagement, divorce does happen, and you want to avoid causing each other as much pain as possible during that process if it does. Taking the time now, when you are prepared to dedicate yourself to a life together, might be the best time to evaluate your desires for each other in a potential future where you’re not together and what that might entail for your finances.
In the end…
Prenups are certainly not for everyone, but they are something that should probably at least be considered for most people. A prenup does not mean that someone is preparing for divorce; they are simply a game plan for a worse-case scenario. So, remember to be transparent and open with your partner about your feelings about prenups and to go into that conversation the same way that you will be entering your marriage: with best intentions and lots of love and respect.