Prenups are a backup plan. Like any other backup plan—the fold-up flats in your purse, tampons in your desk drawer at work, the rape whistle on your keychain—you don't expect to use it, and you really hope not to, but thank God it's there when you need it. For women, divorce is financially dangerous, and you're necessarily subject to a 50 percent chance of suffering from it if you marry. I'll debunk popular excuses for avoiding a prenup. The Frisky: 10 Celebrity Couples Who Didn't Have Prenups
A prenup is an omen for divorce! Nope. Getting a prenup doesn't mean anything about your relationship. It does not indicate a lack of trust or love. It does not predict or affect the outcome of your marriage. It's just a backup plan; it's foldable flats.
But I don't have any assets! Getting a prenup protects kids, parties from each other's debts, and lessens the pain of divorce. In divorce settlements, assets and debts are both divided. If either of you have debt from school, or plan to incur educational debt while married, do a prenup to clarify whose burden the debt repayment is. Otherwise, you can get stuck with half your partner's non-dischargeable educational debt for a degree you don't benefit from.
A prenup also protects your kids. Anything you planned to pass on to them is up for grabs in the divorce settlement (eg. Tommy's college fund) unless it's set aside. Further, most people do have some retirement assets by the time they marry. Those assets are otherwise at risk in divorce. So is an interest in a business, anything you inherit or receive during the marriage (like a pension, trust payments, etc), real estate you own, your salary above about $50k, and more. Even if you really have no assets, a prenup can divide the assets you expect to receive in the future. Generally, prenups tend to neutralize the most common objects of bitter, excruciating argument in divorce: kids, money, what's going to happen.
I'll never get divorced—I'm [insert religion]! Interestingly, divorce rates are highest in states with the strongest stated preferences for organized religion. Hundreds of thousands of people of all religions get divorced. It can happen to you despite your religious beliefs if your spouse initiates it.
It'd be too awkward to suggest a prenup! A good time to do a prenup is in tandem with other legal stuff, like wills. Most young people need to have a will made anyway; pairing the activities takes the focus off the prenup and produces seamless estate planning. It may be awkward, but if you think that's bad, imagine trying to have the same conversations while you're reeling from a divorce-related depression. It's not a good negotiating position. Also, if you and your partner can't withstand the awkwardness of talking prenups, are you really ready to be married? Just saying. The Frisky: Divorce In Your Future? Here Are 4 Steps To Take Before Tying The Knot