If you are planning a wedding, then you have probably come across the concept of a prenuptial agreement or ‘prenup’ for short. You might have even heard it discussed in popular media like the movie Intolerable Cruelty where George Clooney’s character made a career out of making iron-clad prenuptial agreements. Most people have only a vague idea what they are. Even the attorneys in the movie didn’t always have concrete answers. Prenups are an area of specialty in the legal sense, so it is difficult to say what will or will not be okay. The purpose of this article is to inform you of the basics, so you and your partner can have some idea what prenups are all about before reaching out to get one. Note: every country and jurisdiction has different rules on prenups, especially for couples who are from different countries. Contact a lawyer in your area to find out the rules.
What are they?
A prenup is a written document that represents an agreement between you and your partner. Before the marriage, you and your partner sit down and agree on who gets what if a divorce happens. The agreement is designed to protect you or your spouse from financial loss if a divorce occurs. Think of it as an important business negotiation. Businesses have contingency plans in place in case the business fails or is sold. Prenuptial agreements are contingency plans for marriage in case the marriage fails.
How do prenuptial agreements generally work?
If your jurisdiction allows prenups, you will be able to predetermine what happens to things like bank accounts, real estate, and personal property. What is included in a prenup can vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, so it is important to consult your lawyer.
Do I need one?
It’s ultimately a very personal decision for most couples. First, you should probably discuss the matter with your partner. Some people, like celebrities or tycoons, like to get them because they have more to lose or have property all over the world. This is especially true given the divorce rate of the wealthy and famous. Some people get them because they have been ‘burned’ from a divorce before. Many young men and women are so in love that the thought of divorce seems silly or scary. You may never get divorce, or you may get one. Nothing is for certain and no one can tell you what is right for you. The only thing you can do is prepare for the unknown in whatever way is most comfortable to you. Have an honest discussion with your partner and decide whether a prenup is the right choice.
How do I get one?
Once you and your partner have decided upon a prenuptial agreement, find a good law firm or attorney. Then you are ready to draft an agreement. Once the agreement is drafted, the attorney or firm will direct you on making it official and what to do in the event you need it. After it is official, the hard work of finalizing wedding details and building a life together starts!