To Prenup or Not To Prenup?

With the wedding just under 6 months away, I’ve been thinking about whether or not Chad and I need a prenuptial agreement.  Chad and I have discussed it a little bit, but the conversation ended with both of us shrugging our shoulders and offering to sign one if the other person wants to do all the work.  Since we are both lazy and unfamiliar with the process, we’ve basically done nothing.

Well, when I do nothing, I figure it should be a well-thought-out nothing, so I did a quick Google search.

Bankrate says that you need a prenup if

  • You have assets such as a home, stock or retirement funds
  • Own all or part of a business
  • You may be receiving an inheritance
  • You have children and/or grandchildren from a previous marriage
  • One of you is much wealthier than the other
  • One of you will be supporting the other through college
  • You have loved ones who need to be taken care of, such as elderly parents
  • You have or are pursuing a degree or license in a potentially lucrative profession such as medicine
  • You could see a big increase in income (e.g. because your business is taking off).

None of this applies to Chad & me.  We have roughly equal incomes and assets, as far as I know, and neither one of us has ill parents or our own business.  Since we’re young, our parents are young-ish and I don’t think either one of us is expecting an inheritance.

There is an issue of religion, which might be a good reason for a prenup.  Chad and I come from different faiths, and while I’m pretty sure that we don’t need a legal document to decide how to raise our kids (shouldn’t a kid’s religious affiliation be up to him/her?), I could see why someone who is a little more serious about their faith might consider having a stipulation for that.

My dad and I spoke about it once, but his reaction was more emotional: he said that a prenup would be “planning for the marriage to fail.”  Other people I’ve spoken to are appalled that we’ve been so lackadaisical, that we aren’t “protecting ourselves” well enough.  Still others have actually come up with some logic.  California, where we’re currently living, does not recognize certain parts of prenups.

Even more confusing is the myriad reasons a prenup can be thrown out.  If both parties don’t have their own, separate lawyers, it can be thrown out.  If one partner hides assets, it can be thrown out.  The contract has to be fair, so there can’t be an agreement where if one person stays home with the kids they aren’t entitled to what the other person earns.  “Unforeseeable” conditions can also send the prenup into the trash bin – if we agree that each person is entititled only to what they earn, but suddenly space programs are declared illegal and I can’t find work, I can say that’s ridiculous and get half of Chad’s money.  For example.

Obviously I’m going into this marriage with the belief that Chad and I will beat the odds (there wouldn’t be any point if I didn’t believe it, right?), but that’s not why we won’t have a prenup.  With our financial situation, it just doesn’t make much sense.

And if things do change, there’s always a postnup!


5 Responses

  1. Since I’m a spinster, I don’t have much of an opinion about these marital issues. (Same with issues relating to child care.) So, I try to keep my comments applicable to broad situations. So here goes – – keep in mind that we all change over time. Someone who’s frugal today could become a spendthrift later in life. (Not likely, but you do hear about people in mid-life crises who goes nuts.) The whole purpose of these agreements are to limit the uncertainties of the future. And for better or for worse, one of the biggest uncertainties is that humans can be irrational and unpredictable, especially in an emotional state. That being said, it looks like you and Chad are thinking this through very carefully, so I do have confidence that you and Chad will be the odd-beaters. You’re doing a wonderful job in your wedding/marriage planning.

  2. My attitude is similar. If prenups were free and fair and convenient, I’d get one, because, what can the harm be? But they aren’t free, and fair is debatable, so… I don’t really plan on having one. If someone insisted I sign one, i wouldn’t care.

    Makes me think of a Seinfeld episode where George tells Susan he wants a pre-nup, and she just laughs because he has no assets.

  3. By their list I should be getting a pre-nup since I bought the house out of my own money. I’m actually listing out what money is mine from before combining our finances and considering everything from this point on 50-50. In some part I want to feel ownership of the money I worked so hard to save, Mr M isn’t bringing any cash or savings to the table.

  4. Nice post! Keep it real.I have looked over your blog a few times and I love it.

  5. I guess based on that I’d need a prenup. But it just feels weird to me. Considering I don’t have any significant assets…

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