Wedding

3 Reasons to Sign a Prenup Even If You’re Not Rich

Joanne Poh

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No matter what they say about the sanctity of marriage, if one of you is sitting on a goldmine of family wealth, there’s a good chance the in-laws are going to insist you sign a prenuptial agreement before you tie the knot.

But what if, like most of us, neither of you is the scion of a billion dollar empire? There are still some very good reasons to sign a prenup, particularly to protect the party who is in placed in a worse financial position by the marriage. Granted, the courts aren’t forced to enforce the prenup in many instances. But it can provide direction if your marriage should fall apart. Here are some reasons regular folks should broach the uncomfortable topic of a prenup.

 

One of you will be making career sacrifices when you relocate

In an ideal world, your life partner would appear before your eyes in a cloud of glitter and stardust, you’d build your dream home and live happily after after. In real life, however, marriage often leads to sacrifices being made. With an increasingly mobile global citizenry, getting married could lead to one party relocating so that the other can pursue a career opportunity elsewhere.

If one of you is going to sacrifice career progress in order to make the marriage work, it’s a good idea to address this in the prenup. If things don’t pan out, one of you is going to lose out big time financially, and a prenup can help to ensure that that person receives the financial support they need to get back on their feet.

 

One spouse is paying for the other’s education

When you’re in a long-term relationship, the lines between who pays for what tend to get blurred. Suddenly, your partner’s student loans become yours, since you envision a shared future together. I know more than one couple who weren’t even married before they found themselves in the situation where one party was helping to pay for the other’s university degree, whether as a loan or otherwise.

Should things fall apart, one of you will be left with a degree or other qualification that will boost his or her earning power moving forward. But the other will be left with nothing but huge regrets. If you find yourself in such a situation, a prenup can help to ensure that the party who’s shelling out the cash gets duly compensated.

 

One of you is quitting your job to look after the kids

This is the classic scenario where a person, usually the wife, gets financially screwed over by marriage. Although men tend to fear having to pay hefty alimony amounts to their ex-wives, if you’re not wealthy it’s likely the one who hasn’t been working is going to be placed at a huge financial disadvantage, especially if he or she gets custody of the kids.

As much as you might not want to have to pay your ex-spouse maintenance, be aware that the children will suffer for it. Of course, the courts will try to figure out how much one party should be paying to the other. But a prenuptial agreement can set out in clearer terms what the couple considers a fair amount.

Would you sign a prenuptial agreement? Tell us why or why not in the comments!

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Joanne Poh

In my previous life, I was a property lawyer who spent most of my time struggling to get out of bed or stuck in peak hour traffic. These days, as a freelance commercial writer, I work in bed, on the beach, in parks and at cafes, all while being really frugal. I like helping other people save money so they can stop living lives they don't like.