The pros and cons of prenups

The vast majority of couples would benefit from a premarital agreement, and a pros and cons list is never a bad idea. 

Contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of couples—even those who aren’t very wealthy—would benefit from a premarital agreement, or a prenup. However, getting a prenup is an important decision, and a pros and cons list is never a bad idea. 

Let’s dive into some of the benefits and potential drawbacks of getting a prenup.

The Pros

A prenup can protect your assets

A prenuptial agreement protects the assets that matter most to you. Many couples who enter their marriage with assets often have prenups put in place because they can better control who would receive what asset in the event of a divorce. But even if you’re not wealthy, there are many other benefits to a prenup.

A prenup can clarify financial expectations

A prenup can clarify the financial expectations of each spouse not only in the event of divorce, but during the marriage itself. Will one of you pay for the mortgage, and the other cover childcare? These kinds of financial roles can be outlined in a prenup.

A prenup can help you avoid costly litigation

By clearly outlining how assets would be divided up in the case of a divorce, a prenup can avoid the need for costly—and even public, depending on the state you’re married in—litigation.

A prenup provides a sense of security

Having a prenup in place can provide a sense of security and peace of mind for both spouses. It helps you understand exactly what would happen if your marriage were to end—and replaces confusion with certainty.

A prenup provides protections for children

In the event of a spouse’s untimely death, a prenup can allow children to be the beneficiaries of certain assets. This kind of provision can also benefit children from a previous marriage.

A prenup protects business interests

For business owners entering into a marriage, a prenuptial agreement can protect those interests. Business assets can be included in prenuptial agreements, and you can address how they would be divided among the two of you, if at all, in the case that the marriage ends.

A prenup can prevent debt from transferring

A prenup can protect you or your spouse from certain debts that accrue throughout the relationship. For example, you may have an agreement that student debt accrued due to one spouse getting their masters degree is their responsibility should you divorce. Or, let’s say you’re entering into a marriage with student or credit card debt: A prenup can make it clear that debt would be your sole responsibility in the case of divorce. 

The Cons

Prenups can be seen as unromantic

Some people view prenups as unromantic or distrustful, or even an offensive subject to bring up, which can cause tension or conflict in a relationship. Of course, this is subjective, and gradually becoming an outdated point of view.

Prenups can be complex and expensive

Drafting a prenup can be complex and expensive, particularly if each spouse has significant assets or debts. That’s why you need a flat-fee structure, versus an hourly attorney whose fees can quickly pile up.

Prenups don't always hold up in court

There is a risk that a court may not enforce a prenup if it's deemed unfair or if one spouse was coercee into signing it. This, however, is avoidable when working with an experienced, reputable attorney.

Ultimately, every couple is different and has their own set of circumstances. Whatever your unique situation, it’s important to be informed about a decision this important.