Talking about money is pretty much never sexy, and it's one of the hardest things to address as an engaged couple. After all, who wants to put a damper on the pre-wedding excitement by going through the details of your savings account and student loans? But getting comfortable discussing money now will prevent a lot of surprises &mdash: and conflicts — down the road, whether you're budgeting for two or for a whole family. One of the hardest topics to discuss? A prenuptial agreement.
Depending on your respective financial situations and the divorce laws in your state, it could be a useful document to draft, even if it may only apply for the next few years. If you've decided that a prenup might be right for you, Paige Christenberry, Senior Vice President and Wealth Advisor for Regions Bank, has given us five things you should definitely think about as you start the process.
Which Assets are Included?
"Make a detailed list of all of your assets, then identify which ones you'll want to keep as separate property and which ones you're comfortable retitling as joint property," says Christenberry. Your prenup will outline which assets will remain in your name in the event of a divorce (say, the car you purchased a few years ago) and which would be split (and how). You should also make an itemized list of any debts you have, and consider including language that will protect you from being on the hook for your partner's payments down the road.
How Long Will it Last?
"Some prenuptial agreements last for a set number of years, while others have no end date," says Christenberry. Some prenups have different terms depending on how long the marriage lasts, with some terms ceasing to apply after a certain period and others kicking in after a set number of years. If you decide you no longer want the prenup down the road, you and your lawyers can draft an additional document rendering the prenup void.
Does it Matter Who Ends the Marriage?
"Decide if the terms would be different depending on who files for divorce, and whether there will be associated consequences," Christenberry explains.
Is Alimony Included?
Depending on where you live, you may be able to specify how alimony will be handled (or if it will be forfeited altogether), while some states prevent any language eliminating spousal support.
Do We Have Time?
A prenup shouldn't be left until the last minute, even if it's the least exciting thing on your to-do list. "Once you have a better idea of the objectives of your prenup, consult with your own attorneys [yes, you'll each need one!] to discuss drafting the documents," Christenberry says.