When we think of a prenup, most people imagine a serious groom trying to tell his starry-eyed fiance to think beyond her romantic impulses. That woman probably isn’t you; she’s more of a cartoon than a reality.
There are a wealth of reasons women should consider initiating the “prenup conversation.” It’s an important one to have, because it directly addresses a critical, if under-appreciated side of marriage. While this side is markedly less sexy, in the long-term it is no less significant.
Protect yourself, your relationship, and your assets, and talk about a prenuptial agreement.
Here are 5 reasons you should consider asking for a prenuptial agreement:
1. You make more than your partner, or expect to.
Maybe you are cut from the same cloth and have established your financial prowess before finding the perfect relationship. However, at some point you meet the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. All of a sudden your success has become a concern.
You don’t have to be Sheryl Sandberg for this to hold true. It’s also more routine to see men who don’t work, or whose wives are the breadwinners. While this arrangement might not be “traditional,” it might be best for you and for your spouse.
Still, should your marriage ever be heading down the wrong road, you shouldn’t have to be responsible for supporting someone who can take care of themselves. You got into the relationship for love, but if it comes to an end, should that compromise the hard work you’ve done? A fair partner wouldn’t demand that, and you shouldn’t have to worry.
2. You stand to inherit a large sum.
Some of us are lucky to come from families of means. If this is you, there is the chance that some of those assets will come to you in the future.
By getting married, your partner may be entitled to some of that. Obviously we hope it never happens, but how would it feel to have to sell a cherished home because an estranged spouse demands it?
Even if your family isn’t tremendously wealthy, parents and extended family may leave jewels, properties, cars, etc., that are clearly intended for you and your benefit, and not to be squabbled over in divorce court.
A prenuptial agreement can help protect not only your family’s assets, but also the intentions of your loved ones should your marriage not work out.
3. Your success is independent of your partners contributions.
You’re a self-made woman, and you deserve to reap the rewards of your hard work. You might be head-over-heels for your partner, but if you have earned your robust bank account through your own efforts your partner shouldn’t want to take that away from you.
Some couples sign a prenup because they prefer to keep their personal and professional lives separate. Others use the agreement as a springboard to plan finances for after the wedding. Either way, just because your partner has your heart and soul, it is important to discuss how finances will, or will not, be shared.
4. Your partner has a large amount of debt.
One hard truth of getting married is facing each other’s debt scenario. Your situation might be relatively rosy, but he might have had to put himself through an expensive school or not have made the wisest of decisions when purchasing his Mustang on shaky credit.
You don’t want his bad choices before you were together to become your responsibility. Signing a prenup makes both partners seriously consider their financial situation and how it may affect each other. A prenup can make this process much less painful and encourage honesty.
5. You’re pragmatic and realize circumstances can change.
Marriage is beautiful and love is the greatest feeling in the world, but you weren’t born yesterday either. Marriages do end sometimes – people change, grow apart, or want to move on.
Realizing you can’t predict the future and that even the greatest loves may fade, signing a prenup may save both you and your spouse more pain down the road. Hopefully you are able to ignore that prenup paper until the day you die, but it’s better to have it there to ignore than wish for it when you may need it.
With the conversation surrounding marriage caked in language of unending love and transcendent romance, starting a conversation about finances, much less a prenuptial agreement, can be extra difficult. Still, it’s important women be willing to broach the topic rather than just hope everything will work out; financial disagreements are one of the leading causes of marital breakdown. Marriage in some ways, is also a lifelong financial contract, and it’s important to start financial discussions even before your marriage begins.