Prenuptial Agreements: Expect the unexpected

According to Michelle Schroeder* over at there are a handful of reasons that people get prenuptial agreements that aren’t even ‘on the radar’ for a couple at the time of marriage. When we read her list and then discussed it, our staff attorneys agreed that she mentioned some significant economic game changers that you cannot anticipate, which make having a prenuptial agreement imperative.

You may not be in a financial position now that you feel would merit a prenuptial agreement (although there is no particular financial situation which negates the value of a prenups) but one of those unanticipated circumstances is winning the lottery! We’ve all thought about it. You get a Powerball ticket, for fun, but what if you hit your numbers and came into a windfall? Even scratch tickets can bestow a significant winning- amounts of $100,000 and greater are not unheard of. You and your partner’s lives are changed. The defining characteristics of your lifestyle begin to change. Your career goals, family goals. You need to reevaluate your choices, since this unexpected wealth has placed options before you that were not there before. Vacations and traveling were always something you were interested in, and did from time to time, but now you and your spouse have to make serious decisions about how often and where you want to go and how you plan on spending your money.

This unpredicted trajectory has brought new circumstances into the decision making dynamic of your marriage. Choices about when to have children and how you plan on saving versus spending money are now at the forefront.

A point that Michelle makes in her hip money-advice blog references this. She admits that everyone has different goals, and personalities, and you cannot make blanket statements about what should be in a prenup. However, we are attorneys, and from a legal advice standpoint we would be remiss if we did not say it- the content of the prenup may vary, but the fact remains: everyone should have one.

Sense of Cents offers a relatively inclusive list of examples where a prenup is essential:

A prenup will help you in cases where:

  • You have a lot of assets and your spouse does not. Maybe you have a family property that would be horrible if you were to lose it?
  • You make more money than your spouse.
  • You have a business.
  • You win the lottery.
  • You know you will be receiving an inheritance.
  • If you plan on having children and you want to stay at home. This then protects the stay-at-home parent who has been out of work for years.
  • You have been divorced before and you want to protect yourself.

    She goes on to comment on the ‘cheating clause’- which is not even the silliest, weirdest or wackiest- that a lot of celebrities have which entitles the faithful party to a certain amount of money each year, specifically citing the union between Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel who have an infamously specific cheating clause in their prenuptial agreement.

    Another unexpected financial game changer would be coming into an inheritance. A couple we recently prepared a prenuptial agreement for had just come into a $48,000 inheritence that he did not even expect to receive (it was his aunt), and had questions about their prenuptial agreement, and whether they needed to amend it in the form of a postnuptial agreement as a result of the inheritance. *Thanks to Michelle at ‘Making Sense of Cents’ []!

    Regardless of financial circumstances now, because we do not know what the future holds, it is a win-win situation if you complete your prenuptial agreement with NYC Prenup as soon as possible.

    *Thanks to Michelle at ‘Making Sense of Cents’ []!