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Do I need a prenuptial agreement? 5 reasons to get one.

You got engaged. It was a private moment, but followed by hours on the phone and social media, telling everyone the good news. You and your significant other feel incredibly excited, everyone congratulates you and people begin asking how the wedding planning is going almost instantly.

The questions

That’s when it hits you: Getting married is a huge decision. That contract is binding. Yes, you feel excited and you hope everything goes well, but what if it doesn’t? What if you end up getting a divorce? Do you need a prenuptial agreement to protect yourself?

Don’t feel guilty for asking yourself these questions. It does not mean you aren’t romantic or that you are having second thoughts. It just means you’re being honest about what marriage means. Many people ignore the legal side and focus on the emotional side. The reality is that it is best to do both.

5 reasons to use a prenup

As you consider a prenup, here are five reasons why you may want to use one:

  1. You own a company. You do not want the divorce to threaten the business’ assets and stability. You want your professional life completely shielded from your personal life. A prenup ensures that all assets get divided properly up front.
  2. You got married once before. You have another family. Your soon-to-be spouse knows this, of course, but you still have a financial obligation to that family. The prenup can draw very clear lines to show what money goes where.
  3. Your significant other has a lot of debt. Even if he or she doesn’t have it yet, it may be coming. For instance, this is an issue with people who get married after college and before graduate school. Do you want to be stuck with joint student loans if you get divorced right after graduation?
  4. You worry about disabilities or even death. You want to make sure that you get taken care of, or that your heirs do, if something happens to you. A divorce after a disabling injury will not strip you of assets that you desperately need.
  5. You have children and plan to leave them an inheritance. You saved hard to get that money for them. You made sacrifices. You love your children. You do not want your significant other to divorce you and take half of that money, meaning it never gets passed on to the kids.

These are just five reasons, and you may certainly think of more. You can’t predict how life goes. What you can do is prepare for it. Make sure you really understand all of your options and how they may help you moving forward.