A prenup is not always about protecting your money. A prenuptial agreement, or prenup, is a legal agreement entered into by a bride and groom before marriage. If a marriage comes to divorce (2008 statistics say it’s about a coin flip of 40%), a prenup will protect your assets from the person you are divorcing. If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you know I believe that most relationships don’t last forever (just look at the statistics) and that when it comes to divorce… thing’s can get extremely messy. It should not be considered bad to get a prenup and I will explain why and how prenups can be used for more than just protecting your assets.
Crazy Celebrity Prenups
Celebrities are a great example of how to use (or not to use) a prenup. Just look at some of the crazy celebrity prenup agreements that hollywood has come up with:
- Tony Romo received the helpful suggestion that, should he propose to Jessica Simpson, he should include a “porker clause” in their prenup requiring her to pay him $500,000 if she topped 135 pounds.
- The right to perform random drug tests. Financial penalties were incurred if the resuIts were positive. Keith Urban gets about $640,000 for every year he’s married to Nicole Kidman–unless the former addict starts using drugs again, in which case he gets nothing.
- Catherine Zeta-Jones will make 5 mil. if Michael Douglas ever cheats on her. Zeta-Jones, who also makes $2.8 million for every year of marriage, says prenups are “brilliant.”
- Denise Richards was guaranteed $4 million if known cheater Charlie Sheen ever stepped out on her during their marriage.
- For a husband not to watch more than one football game on Sundays during football season.
- And if you thought those were crazy, Khloe Kardashian’s prenup in 2009 allows her a $5,000 monthly shopping budget and $1,000 monthly beauty budget, among other things.
As you can tell by now, a prenup doesn’t always involve or center around protecting your money. You can use it to motivate your spouse not to cheat or do drugs, give yourself an allowance, and in general improve your relationship.
It’s easier than you think…
You don’t have to be rich or own your own business to get a prenup. Don’t think of it as protection for what you already have – think of it as protection for what you might have in the future. Bruce Hoffmeister, vice president in the Wells Fargo wealth management group and an expert on domestic finance issues says, “One spouse may end up getting an advanced degree, starting a company, winning the lottery or inheriting a small fortune,” he notes. “The prenup protects both partners.” No one can see the future, and because a prenup protects both partners your spouse will be more understanding that it might be a good thing for both of you. A prenup can also be a way to build trust. If you think your spouse is after your money a prenup can relieve that mistrust inside of you, and it’s best to do that before letting it act as a cancerous tumor in your marriage.
If you think a prenup is expensive, it doesn’t have to be. While an attorney may provide a much better prenup, there are many templates on the internet to draft your own prenup together. A prenup should be smart and fair to both of you.
Prenumptial agreements must meet these five requirements:
• They must be written.
• The signing of the prenup must not be forced.
• The signing must occur before a notary.
• The prenup may be invalid if one partner fails to disclose something and/or married under false pretences.
• The agreement cannot be morally or ethically unconscionable.
Don’t give your spouse a prenup and tell them to sign. Propose the idea first, explain the advantages, and build a prenup together. Don’t pressure them into signing it – a prenup can be an opportunity to build trust. If your prenup offers them nothing and doesn’t seem fair, they are not going to sign it.