Controversial Money Opinion: Everyone needs a prenup

July 9, 2024

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I'm Tori!

After successfully saving $100,000 at age 25, I quit my corporate job in marketing to fight for your financial rights. I’ve helped over three million badass women make more, spend less, and feel financially confident.


It’s not sexy.

But it’s something I want you to seriously consider if you’re walking down the aisle soon: Getting a prenup. 

A prenup is an agreement that couples make before they marry that outlines how assets are divided should the marriage end in divorce.

While planning for a divorce is probably the last thing you want to do alongside picking out appetizers for your wedding reception, it’s a vital step in the process of partnering up in marriage.

What exactly is a prenup?

A prenup is short for a prenuptial agreement. It’s a document that lists all property, assets (like retirement accounts and investment accounts), and debts, and that details what happens if the marriage ends. 

States have different names for premarital agreements—prenuptial agreements, antenuptial agreements, and prenuptial contracts–but they all mean the same thing.

Prenups are signed BEFORE you say “I do.”  There are postnuptial agreements (postnups) but these are signed after the wedding date.

Prenup vs postnup

Both prenups and postnups spell out assets and determine what happens in the case of divorce or death. They both cover assets you already own PLUS assets you accumulate during the marriage (buying a house together, for instance).

Prenups and postnups can both address:

  • Waivers of spousal support and or modification of support (also known as alimony)
  • Debt ownership/management
  • Confidentiality 
  • Pet ownership 
  • Financial disclosure

The biggest difference between prenups and postnups is when they are signed: Before vs after the wedding.

It’s important to keep in mind that postnups face greater scrutiny than prenups in court—they’re relatively new concepts and some states won’t honor them at all. Courts may point to timing and motivation as reasons not to uphold a postnup, making them a bit less reliable than prenups.

Other ways the two are different include:

  • Sometimes postnups require legal representation.
  • Both parties must offer “considerations” which is basically a fancy way of saying both parties must give something up in exchange for something else. Prenups do not require this.

Why you should definitely get a prenup

While I’m psyched for you to get married, I’m also adamant about protecting yourself financially. 

Divorces are messy. Beyond the emotional havoc, dealing with your assets in divorce can add an extra layer to the shit storm that I’d love to see you avoid.

Here’s why I think you should always opt for a prenup, no matter how unsexy or unromantic they may seem.

You want to be in control of your own financial situation

Your state will automatically give you a prenup if you don’t set one for yourself. Now is it the same as a prenup that you choose and set for yourself? No. 

Asset division looks different in every state. For example, in Oregon, property is divided 50/50 in divorce, unless a prenup is in place. However in Colorado, the rules are more vague: It’s up to judges to decide what “fair” means. That could result in a 60/40, 70/30, or a more drastic divide depending on the situation.

Rather than letting your state decide how your assets are divided in divorce, take control of your financial situation and lay out the terms yourself.

Prenups help you safeguard your assets—both current and future

People are steadily getting married later as time goes on—the current average is between 28 and 30 according to the U.S. Census Bureau—which means more time to accumulate assets as a single person.

For example, say you’re in your early 30s and have a growing investment portfolio alongside a new condo you just bought. Getting a prenup can specify how those assets will be divided in case you divorce, meaning you won’t have to sit in court fighting over who gets to keep the condo afterward.

Prenups also protect your future assets. Many couples opt to buy a home after getting married: A prenup can help you determine how you’ll manage the property in divorce, whether it means selling it and splitting the proceeds or allowing one spouse to retain ownership while buying the other partner out.

Prenups help you protect your income and define spousal support obligations

Prenups often state how you will manage your income in divorce. You can outline how you will manage your future income—whether that means providing spousal support (alimony) if the marriage dissolves.

Prenups can protect you from your partner’s debt

Many of us have some form of debt, whether it’s from a mortgage, car loan, or student loans. When you get married without a prenup, your partner’s debt becomes YOUR debt. A prenup can keep debt ownership separate, meaning you won’t be responsible for paying off your partner’s car loan or college degree if you separate. 

Prenups can protect you from financial hardship in divorce

Opting for a prenup will make the financial terms of your divorce far more clear. You’re likely to establish terms and conditions with your spouse’s best interest in mind if you make a prenup, meaning you’ll both ideally walk away from the marriage feeling like you’re financially secure. 

How to talk about getting a prenup

I get it: You’d probably rather be planning your honeymoon than drafting up a prenup leading up to your big day.

But I’m here to tell you can do it WITHOUT the awkwardness. 

Here’s how.

Carve out some time for the conversation

As with any money conversation, it’s a good idea to let your partner know ahead of time that you want to talk about finances. If you have a standing money date, I recommend slotting it in during one of those meetings.

Either way, set a time and place for the conversation and let your partner know you’d like to talk about a prenup.

Determine the terms together

Rather than plopping down at the kitchen table with a list of your assets you’re determined to protect, spend some time first learning about prenups together—what they entail, how they’re laid out, and how to create one.

Then, I recommend talking about how you’d both like to see one another supported in divorce. Because you’re talking about this during what’s usually a time of lovey-dovey planning and imagining a future together, you’re more likely to have one another’s best interests at heart as you think about what’s important. 

Consult the professionals

Rather than making a list of your assets and writing out a loose plan for what may happen in divorce, get a professional involved. This person could be a financial advisor, attorney, or mediator that’s well-versed in prenups. 

When you’re ready to get your prenup put into action, consult with HelloPrenup. I love HelloPrenup because they make it far faster and cheaper to create. You can do it all online, with your partner, and with access to attorneys if you have specific situations or questions.

Getting married is so awesome, amazing, incredible. But so is financial safety. Make your prenup a to-do on your list, right next to picking out adorable matching pajama sets for your honeymoon.

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