Lisa Zeiderman writes about how a prenup can reduce anxiety around marriage in her latest article for Psychology Today.

It’s February — get ready for more engagement announcements! According to The Knot, nearly 40 percent of all engagements occur between November and February, and Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular days of the year to propose.

While it’s easy to see why couples use this time highlighting love and red and pink hearts to pop the question, it’s important to start contemplating how you will discuss the second and potentially more controversial question that might follow: “Can we discuss a prenup?”

As I often say, it is hard to remember when you are madly in love, but marriage is a financial partnership that comes with legal implications. It might not be your focus right now, but planning for your financial future is important. It’s widely known that up to 25 percent of marriages end because of financial issues. And while you never know where life may take you, there are some certainties you can establish in a prenuptial agreement.

Second (or third) marriages

Many statistics show that second and third marriages are more likely to end in divorce than first marriages, so it’s important to engage in conversations with your partner on the topic of a prenup for this group in particular.

A prenup is especially important in these cases, as you may be entering this relationship after establishing your career, acquiring assets, having children and building wealth. A prenup can address issues that include establishing separate property, health care and long-term care and retirement planning. It can also ensure your children from a former marriage have a financial legacy that is protected.

If you and/or your future spouse have obligations that arise from prior marriages or relationships such as child support and/or spousal support, college tuition for your children and lump sum payments for equitable distribution of assets, your prenup can delineate the source of monies from which to pay these obligations. All of this can reduce some of the stressors around remarriage, and in talking through some of the touchier topics, create a stronger foundation so that this marriage can last “til death do us part.”

And yes, even the eventuality of what happens to your assets in the event of death can be included in the prenup.

What is a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is drafted and signed before marriage to protect the financial assets and provide certainty for both spouses as they embark on married life. Prenuptial agreements can be drafted to meet the specific needs of each spouse, including setting aside assets from a previous marriage to benefit children.

What can you include in your prenuptial agreement?

Your prenup should include everything of value — even the most sentimental items. It can also include the terms for dividing assets such as retirement funds, real estate, businesses, and executive compensation in the event of a divorce. It will save time and energy on the other end if you end up going your separate ways.

If you plan to start a business with your spouse, or build a business together, a prenup can also pre-determine potential buyout options for how the business would be divided down the line.

Children’s child support designations are exempt from a prenup unless the child has already been born.

How can a prenup enhance your marriage and reduce anxiety?

Prenups build certainty, cut down on future legal fees, and provide a road map for your financial future. They can enhance your marriage by opening up communication about what can be a difficult topic of discussion for many couples: how to handle money.

And for second marriages, hindsight is 20/20, so you likely have a better idea of how to create a life together — including what you need to put in a prenup — that will bring peace of mind to you, your future spouse and your respective families.

I wish you well during this exciting time of life!


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