It is common knowledge that couples usually wait longer these days before getting married. Some will even be in a long-term committed relationship but have no interest in marriage. However, love is unpredictable and others find themselves making marriage plans while in undergraduate or graduate school. If this is the case, it can make sense to consider a prenuptial agreement even when the couple are still in school and do not have full-time employment.
High net worth couples or those who have been married before typically use prenuptial agreements. In cases such as these, there may be custody arrangements involving children, estate plans or other financial tools in place. Sometimes one spouse will have a substantially higher income that he or she wishes to insulate with a prenup.
Planning for the future with a prenup
While the above examples focus on what has already happened, a prenup can also address future considerations. For example, a couple may be in medical school, getting their MBA or some other training that will lead to a lucrative career. One high profile example is the recent divorce announcement of Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos – the couple married years before Jeff earned his first million, so a vast majority of the $137 billion estate is marital assets.
Prenups can also protect spouses from debt, so it may help relieve some tension if one individual worked hard to pay for schooling while the other took out a large amount of student loans.
A difficult but necessary conversation
Discussing financial goals and expectations should be a part of any bigger discussion about goals for the marriage. Once the subject is broached, it ideally addresses initial concerns. It may even be encouraged by family, especially if there is a family trust or a succession plan involving a family business.
An attorney can work with an individual or couple to design a binding prenup that addresses future earnings or a startup hatched in a dorm room. Either way, the couple can move forward with fewer doubts about their future and finances.