Your engagement is an exciting time, and planning your life with your spouse can answer many questions. Will one of you move into the other’s home, or will you start looking for something entirely new? How will you run your household? What will your budget look like?
However, with many marriages ending in divorce, you may want that plan to include a prenuptial agreement. Why should you consider having a prenup?
1. One of you has more assets or a higher income than the other
If one of you has a high-paying job, came into the relationship with inherited assets or has a significant amount of savings, a prenuptial agreement can be key to protecting that wealth. In Virginia, the property you brought into your marriage is generally considered your separate property, but combining your finances can make your assets difficult to divide in the future. A prenuptial agreement allows you to protect that property.
2. You or your partner has unpaid debts.
Whether you or your spouse are coming into your marriage with student loan debts or a mortgage that is not yet paid off, those debts are generally considered yours alone. When “yours and mine” becomes “yours, mine and ours,” though, any use of marital property to pay off your individual debts can make it difficult or impossible to determine whether those debts truly are yours alone. This comingling could mean that your partner’s debts are considered joint property unless you have a prenuptial agreement in place.
3. You have children from a previous relationship.
Division of your assets can leave you with less for your own children. A prenuptial agreement can protect the property that they will inherit.
4. You or your partner have a business.
If you or your partner is a business owner, it can be essential to lay out a plan for how you will handle that business if you were to divorce. This agreement can also include much more than designating the business as separate property. As Forbes notes, the prenup can detail a variety of different plans, including how the business is to be valued and what salary the business-owning partner will be paid.
Prenuptial agreements can be a good way for you and your partner to discuss the things that matter to you. If you are wondering whether a prenup is right for you, consider speaking to a lawyer.