To Prenup or not to Prenup

To Prenup or not to Prenup

by Bilal Kaiser, December 2009

"Will you marry me?" Ah, the question that's heard around the world-especially during the holidays. For many couples getting engaged, marriage symbolizes romance at its best. While there's nothing wrong with getting caught up in the romance of it all, it's usually a good idea to consider the reality too.

In the case of marriage, the national divorce rate is close 50 percent. And though it may not elicit thoughts of Paris or a honeymoon on a beach, it's probably a good idea for you and your fiancé to consider a prenuptial agreement. The so-called "prenup" serves as a legal contract between two parties planning to marry or enter into a civil union. A prenup covers what happens to the individuals' assets (financial or otherwise) in the event of a divorce. While not necessarily common, a prenuptial agreement might make sense in certain situations.

Here are three reasons a prenup may be something you'll want to think about before saying "I do."

1. Significant Assets

Consider a prenup if you have accumulated wealth or property prior to your marriage and want those assets protected in the event of a divorce. There are some assets that you may not want distributed evenly should there be a divorce, such as family property, estate, small business, retirement fund, a child's college fund or inheritance.

2. Significant Debt

If you have a lot of debt prior to marriage, a prenup might make sense so that your partner isn't left with an unfair share of it in the event of a divorce. Similarly, if your partner has a high amount of debt you may want to protect yourself by discussing a prenuptial agreement-with specific provisions for handling of the debt should the marriage end in divorce.

3. Dependents

Another reason to think about a prenup is if you have dependents that require your support, whether now or perhaps in the future. This includes children, such as those with disabilities, or those for whom you've set up a college fund. Dependents can also include elderly parents if you are, or will be, financially responsible for taking care of them.

If you're seriously considering marriage, you may want to seriously consider a prenup. Or at least explore your options. The best place to start is by talking to your partner.

For more information visit:

National Center for Health Statistics