Pre-marital planning

Getting married involves a lot of planning for the wedding, but it may also need to include some pre-marital financial planning.I have a dear friend who is getting married again. She is one of these women who has it all–beautiful inside and out, successful in her career and financially stable. When she told me she was getting married again I was a bit shocked, but when she told me they were doing pre-marital planning I thought “wait, he wants you to sign a pre-nup!?” The funny thing is that once I thought about it, I realized a pre-nup makes sense for my friend. So, why do I have such a negative feeling about it?

Pre-nups have always made me think of really rich people being afraid that their soon-to-be spouse was only with them for their money. When I first got married, the two of us had some money but not enough to want to protect it, and for me the first time around was true love. You know, we were never ever going to be apart, together until the end. What I’ve learned over the past few years is that life isn’t so cut and dry. Things happen you don’t count on, people change (or they don’t) and sometimes you are left with the opposite of what you thought your life would be. So, I’ve come around to the idea of a pre-nup and what it can do for you and your soon-to-be spouse.

What my friend has taught me is that there are a lot of things to consider before you sign on the dotted line. Here are a few of the points she’s learned:

  1. Get your own lawyer. You need to be sure someone is working for your best interests
  2. Know the laws of your state.
  3. Will either of you be quitting your job to stay at home with children? This needs to be discussed due to the loss of income that one of you will be experiencing. This isn’t a big deal if you agree on how the finances will be handled prior to one of you leaving the workforce, but think about the ramifications of the lost income and the financial pressure if your marriage breaks apart.
  4. Do either of you have children from a previous marriage? What protections do you have for them to be taken care of financially?
  5. Does one of you own a business? What happens to your business interest in case of a divorce?
  6. Are there any family heirlooms you or your future spouse has that should stay in the family?

Listen, I am certainly not a legal professional and am nowhere near wanting to take the plunge again, but I have come to believe that a pre-nup is something I would consider if the opportunity ever presented itself to me again. What do you think about prenuptial agreements?

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One Response to Pre-marital planning

  1. Richard Ely says:

    Lisa,
    You present some good reasons to consider the value of a pre-nup even when extraordinary wealth doesn’t apply. People can and do change (or not) over time as do circumstances (for better or worse than ever foreseen), and this sort of planning rather than seemingly petty can be preventive. Good post.

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