I know what you're thinking: Prenups are so unromantic—a sign of distrust, not love. Time for a reality check, my friends. First, drawing up a prenuptial agreement together is a sign of incredible trust and financial openness—you're fooling yourself if you think you can achieve complete intimacy without it. And at the risk of being a complete wet blanket, I just want to mention that north of 40 percent of marriages end up in divorce.
A prenup is doubly important for anyone entering a second marriage, as there may be sizable assets from the previous marriage that you want to retain sole ownership of (you can pass them along to any children from that first marriage). And those of you who are living with a partner should get a cohabitation agreement; it's the prenup for couples who aren't officially married.
Some prenup basics:
- Before you sit down with lawyers, talk to your honey about what you want to include in the prenup. There's a lot you can talk through when you're not getting billed by the hour.
- You both need your own lawyers; you should not be represented by the same attorney. For a straightforward prenup, you might pay $1,500 each.
- The prenup needs to be drawn up months before the wedding, not days—it's not something you slap together and sign in the car on the way to the ceremony. A shotgun prenup might not hold up in court.
- Be honest. Concealment of any asset or debt can invalidate your prenup.
- Everyone involved—including the lawyers—should sign the documents.
- If you move to another state, have a local attorney review the agreement in order to see whether you need to make changes.