Four Kinds Of Couples Who Need Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement (popularly known as a prenup) isn't a prerequisite for getting married. However, it is a good thing to have in place, for some people more than others. Here are four kinds of couples likely to benefit from prenups:

Couples with Disparate Income and Assets

If one of you is coming into the marriage with considerably more assets or a higher income than the other, then a prenuptial agreement may be necessary. The prenup may preempt disputes that may later arise concerning the assets or money.

This doesn't mean you are greedy; it's a good way of ensuring sound financial management. For example, if you don't have a prenup and commingled the assets, what happens if your spouse wants to sell your thriving collector's cars a year after marriage? If you have a prenuptial agreement, you can keep the assets separate and manage them as you see fit.

Couples with Disparate Debts

Apart from disparate assets, disparate debts also have the potential of causing serious marital disagreements. For example, one of you may come into the relationship with huge debts that will only be repaid after many years. Your prenuptial agreement may declare such premarital debts as separate responsibilities, so they don't interfere with your financial responsibilities during the marriage, such as taking care of the children.

Couples with Children from Previous Relationships

If this isn't your first marriage, then you may have responsibilities from your previous marriages that may not integrate well with your current marriage. For example, if you have children from a previous relationship, you may want to include your financial responsibilities for them in your prenup. You may even use it to set aside your premarital assets specifically for your children from a previous marriage. Although this may not replace an estate plan, it's a good way of ensuring both of you know and agree to such responsibilities. 

You Have Part Ownership of a Business

Finally, you may also need a prenuptial agreement if one or both of you co-owns a business with other people. In such a case, your prenup may help you keep the business ownership from becoming a marital asset, especially if it is what the other business partners want. For example, if you have a startup you started with college friends with similar ideals and vision, they may be reluctant from having another party gatecrash it. Using a prenup can help you keep the peace with your business partners.

Whatever you include in your prenup, ensure it is fair to your partner and legally binding. For example, in some states, you may not be immune from each other's debts. Consult a lawyer, or visit websites like, to ensure the agreement is legally enforceable.