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How to Draft the Perfect Prenup

It’s a sad fact of life that nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. Because of this, many couples are protecting themselves by using prenuptial agreements, better known as “prenups.” Though it may seem like a fairly unromantic idea when thinking of your future wedded bliss, it never hurts to be prepared, particularly if you have items you don’t want to lose, important assets or larger savings accounts. By outlining how a divorce will go should it happen, you can actually end up saving quite a bit of heartache down the line.

Where Do You Start?

You may be asking yourself, “Why do I need a prenup?” It’s a popular misconception that only celebrities or the extremely wealthy need one. The simple fact is, a prenuptial can protect both of you in the event that your marriage breaks down. It can be as simple as outlining who will get what in the event of a divorce, or it can also outline expected responsibilities during the marriage that must be adhered to.

Essentially, look at it as a contract for your entire marriage. When both parties know what is expected of them in the relationship, it makes it easier to adhere to those expectations, therefore making the relationship run smoothly. There are no disappointments and nobody’s feelings get hurt. When you draw up a fair agreement, it also instills trust in your partner.

1) Draw up a list of assets you both have prior to getting married.

Getting a list together of important assets that are not shared in the relationship is an important factor in starting the prenuptial process. Think about things that you would not be comfortable with losing, for example, family heirlooms, your 401K plan, or art or record collections. No matter how small, be sure to get it down in a list. Ask your fiance to do the same. This will provide a guideline for division of assets should a divorce occur.

2) List out your responsibilities…and consequences for not adhering to them.

When you get married, you obviously would like your partner to stay true and not cheat on you. You may also want them to contribute to half of the expenses for both home and family, or even keep their fitness level up. All of these issues can be outlined in the agreement. Discuss what the consequences will be should your future partner not hold up their end of the bargain. Does cheating mean an immediate divorce, or would you go to counseling first? Knowing this in advance can save questions down the road.

3) Be honest in your discussions.

It’s no small fact that these conversations are going to be slightly uncomfortable at times. While getting married is full of romance and promise of a new life together, a contract deals with the possibility of a split, making it a subject no one wants to discuss. No matter how hard, be honest with each other and with yourself. Failing to say what you mean will only end in you not protecting important assets and ending up ultimately unhappy should the unforeseeable occur.

4) Hire an attorney.

While you can attempt to do a prenuptial agreement on your own, involving an attorney can ensure you don’t miss anything important and also make sure everything you’re asking for is legal. Laws can vary from state to state, so what’s okay in Orlando, FL may not work in New York City. One Orlando divorce lawyer’s website states that ”a divorce may mark the end of a marriage but it’s also the beginning of a new life.” To make sure the new life you have after divorce is happy and fulfilling, make sure you also take into account any future possibilities such as children, joint accounts and job loss in your prenuptial.

Keep the romance in your relationship by impressing in your guy that you can approach such a sensitive issue with a fair and clear head. Stress to him that your wish to draw up a marriage contract is not because you have any doubts in your love and relationship but because you are confident that your future relationship will be blessed with longevity and stability.

Debbie Nguyen is a transplant from Vietnam. She grew up in Washington, D.C. and Illinois. She has a degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Industrial Design. She also studied Architecture for 4 years there. She is an award-winning graphic designer, writer, blogger, compulsive reader, and knitter.
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