During a segment regarding marriage and money on Fox & Friends last month, personal finance expert Dave Ramsey made a very incorrect statement when asked if a couple should create and sign a prenuptial agreement. His answer? "Don't do prenups unless someone is extremely wealthy and the person they're marrying is not. Other than that, you'd stay away from prenups."
As a firm that specializes in divorce and family law, we cannot advise that you follow Mr. Ramsey's words of wisdom. Prenuptial agreements are not just for the wealthy. In fact, many couples who fall into the middle class income bracket are choosing to enlist an attorney to help them draft and file a solid prenupt.
While prenuptial agreements are considered unromantic and some think asking for one means you don't trust or love your partner, that isn't necessarily the case. In fact, discussing the fine details of your financial future together can actually bring couples closer together. It's important to know where your spouse stands regarding finances. Just because you aren't wealthy at the time of your marriage, doesn't mean you will always be that way. Life takes many twists and turns, and it is quite possible that at one point or another, you will earn a bigger salary.
Another reason why prenuptial agreements are important is because they help to outline many factors of your relationship, whether you stay together or not. For instance, what if you want to quit work and raise your children in a few years? You and your spouse should discuss the situation and how you will handle finances before the child is born. Having a plan of action in writing helps to solidify the agreement.
If you or your spouse ultimately ends up filing for divorce, a prenupt can protect you financially. Since the agreement would have been drawn up while you two were still in love, it is going to be fair and just because neither party would want to hurt the other. There may be terms outlining alimony, child support, and a division of property. All of these conditions can protect you from a potentially lengthy and painful legal battle down the road.
In our professional opinion, creating a prenuptial agreement should be part of the wedding planning process. Propose, select your wedding party, decide on a venue, sign a prenupt, walk down the aisle, and enjoy the married life. If you and your spouse are already betrothed and you did not sign a prenuptial agreement before the big day, it is still possible to get a formal agreement in writing. Simply contact a divorce or family law attorney and request that they help you develop a postnuptial agreement. The same conditions that could be outlined in a prenupt can be addressed here, as well.