Why Every Couple Needs A Prenuptial Agreement
Let’s get down to a common misperception: most couples presume they’ll never need a prenup.
So say it with me before we go any further: we are all human, we are all human.
Ok, now go to the latest celebrity gossip rag and open it up. Et voilà.
Like the celebrities who are head over heels in love one day and divorcing the next, we are all human and all of us married folk (or soon-to-be-married folk) need a prenuptial agreement (or a domestic partnership agreement – check with your local attorney to see which is best for you).
Now that we’ve dispensed with our best free legal advice when it comes to settling down with your beloved, let’s open up the conversation a bit for the two of you with our Top 10 Reasons You Need A Prenup:
1. This is as good as it gets, sweetheart. You and your partner are in the bliss of planning your wedding (or maybe just the rest of your lives together). This is probably the height of good communication. Maximize on that.
2. A prenup is much more affordable than a messy divorce/dissolution. By many multiples. Talk to your local attorney.
3. You make more money than your partner. Do you want to share your salary with your partner should you become exes? Do you want to share what you’ve acquired over the years?
4. Your make less money than your partner. Do you need some of your partner’s salary to live on in the event you split? Fast forward 10 years down the road: your Sweetheart is a corporate executive making six figures, while you are committed to a life of public service on $42k. Do you want to keep the house? The car? What will you pay for it with?
5. Your partner is more debt tolerant than you are. Yikes. Whose debt is it? Is your name on the card? What was bought on those charge cards?
6. Situations change. Alright, so you think you’ve got this, you make less money than your betrothed and you’ll take him/her for all they’ve got. But what if he or she loses their job? Or worse, can’t work, what then?
7. People change. Every single client that we’ve ever talked to about a prenuptial and who has declined has told us they don’t need it. Bologna. You and your spouse are going to change in the coming years and not every change is going to be for the better. You will be much less stressed if you know what’s in store if you decide (or your spouse decides) to leave.
8. You have children from a previous relationship. Alright, where’s my soapbox? If you have kids that are not your joint responsibility with your current partner/spouse, you ought to be looking out for their financial future, too. You can live on what you currently make. Fine, but can you live on substantially less if you wind up paying alimony?
9. You’re going to stay home. With eight kids, 2 dogs, and a cat. Or even just one kid. What are you going to do if your spouse decides to leave?
10. Relationship recognition for same-sex couples offers a murky legal landscape at best. The status of same-sex marriage is changing all the time. So, maybe you live in Massachusetts, but what if you move from Massachusetts to Maryland? Things are less clear here on the status of same-sex marriage. Be careful.
So there you have it! Our top 10 reasons why considering a prenuptial agreement is worth your while. Check back next time for our further exploration on this topic.
Meanwhile, were’s wishing you sweet dreams as you and yours sleep a little more soundly having started the conversation on your prenup.
As always, we welcome your questions and encourage you to ask them before your Big Day.
Heather & Emily
Heather McCabe and Emily Russell are family law practitioners who regularly serve the LGBT community in all kinds of legal affairs – from adoptions to dissolutions/divorces. McCabe has taught family law and legal writing and has been on the faculty at Georgetown Law, American University, and University of Baltimore. Russell worked as a lobbyist before coming to the law. Whether through document drafting, mediation, collaborative law, or litigation, McCabe and Russell are committed to the creation and security of the unique families they serve.