‘Tis the Season to be Merry…and get Married

Christmas EngagementThe holiday season is the most popular time of year to get engaged, with three of the four most common holidays for proposing falling in November and December.  And what a beautiful time for it, with the romantic backdrop of the season and all the brilliant lights, how does a sparkly diamond not fit perfectly?  But once the glow of that holiday proposal wears off, its time to consider the unromantic aspects of getting married.  Perhaps the least romantic consideration of all is a prenuptial agreement.  What a buzzkill right?!

Although couples are increasingly executing prenuptial agreements, the fact remains that the majority of couples avoid even discussing the prospect of one.  A prenuptial agreement is important for a number of reasons though.  And they are no longer just for the rich and famous.

A common misconception about prenuptial agreements is that they only protect substantial assets that one party, or both, bring to the marriage.  Not true.  In fact, prenuptial agreements can protect current assets, future assets, inheritance, and even debt.  Are you currently a student racking up more in the debt column than income?  I suspect that you intend to put that debt to good use and obtain a well-paying job with the degree it is buying.  If so, you can protect that future income (think retirement here) and protect your future spouse from having to assume any of your student debt with a prenuptial agreement.  See, not so self-serving after all!  Does your family own a business or a lake house that you may have an interest in one day?  If you want that to remain in your family, protect it with a prenuptial agreement.  Prenuptial agreements can also insulate you from “secret” credit card debt that your spouse may incur unbeknownst to you.  In Indiana, as a married person, you may be liable for any and all of your spouse’s debt even if it is obtained through no effort of your own, without your knowledge, or in your spouse’s sole name.  While I certainly hope you never divorce, having pre-defined the terms of a split while you are still basking in the romantic glow of the engagement is a good idea and is likely to save you time, money, and heartache down the road (of course in the unlikely event you divorce).  You’ve all heard of or witnessed those terrible, drawn-out, mud-slinging divorce cases – why not prevent that from ever happening to you?

We’re all in the hustle and bustle mode this time of year, with holiday preparations and celebrations, wearing the ugliest Christmas sweater you can find, the search for the perfect gift, and generally just wrapping up another year gone by.  An utterly unromantic prenuptial agreement sounds like such a drag on such fun, but if you are getting engaged or married during this idyllic time of year, adding a prenuptial agreement to your list of New Year’s resolutions is a wise investment in your emotional and financial future.