Pre-nup anyone? With the interest ignited by two royal weddings last year, speculation about any prenuptial agreement the couples may have had drawn up became a hot topic. Those pre-nups would certainly make for very interesting reading.  Truthfully, a pre-nup isn’t just for royals or the wealthy any more. Though much more common in the case of a second marriage, (especially if children from a previous one are involved), a prenuptial agreement is not such a bad idea for a ‘first’ marriage either. Many young couples are either toying with the idea of making one or have actually seriously talked about it.

The classic pre-nup is a legal contract which operates by ensuring that if a couple divorces, any possessions each had before marrying would remain their own and not be divided as part of the marital pool. It also states that both sides agree that each partner is entitled to 50% of any income earned during the marriage period. If one of the partners earned little or nothing throughout the marriage, they’d be allowed to be given a percentage of their partner’s earnings and possibly part of a future pension. That’s the traditional one but you can make a pre-nup very individual.

A prenuptial agreement can set the mind of any person, at any age, who is about to be married, at ease. While this may make marriage seem like a deliberately calculated chess move, it is not as cold as it sounds and, if both partners are comfortable with this contract, it can actually add to the happiness of the married couple. Practically speaking there are benefits for both concerned. While you may have to stick with certain legalese, you and your partner can make changes and include whatever makes you happy and secure.

More and more engaged couples are signing a pre-nup. It is not a sign that divorce looms on the near horizon; it is a sign that everything you have worked for, and personally accumulated, will be protected. You had a pre-marriage life that you created. It is common-sense to protect your pre-marriage assets. Actually discussing a pre-nup is an ideal opportunity for you and your partner to place your financial lives out on the table. Going into marriage without a clear and concise idea of how you and your partner view monetary matters is a recipe for sure disaster.

When should you bring up the subject of a prenuptial agreement? Here’s a hint. Don’t wait until the week before the wedding! Ideally this topic should be broached when you’re moving into the permanent stages of a relationship. This is the time when you may be talking about marriage as a not too-distant fact and many issues involving this situation are being discussed.

Your prospective mate should know you well enough so that the idea of a legally binding, protective agreement isn’t a complete surprise. You should be able to talk about this comfortably alone together. No one else, relatives or friends, should be involved in your discussions.

Talk about the pre-nup as being beneficial to both of you. Don’t make it a one-sided deal that seems to protect only you. Ask for his or her opinion and take what he or she says very seriously. You’re talking about your future. List all of your individual assets and prized personal items separately. A good example of prized items is jewelry, collectibles, and sports memorabilia.

Choose separate lawyers to work out the contract. Ideally the lawyer each of  you chooses should be someone who puts your best interests first. The lawyers do know how to include what each of you wants in language that will make it legally clear.

Don’t ever make this a one sided issue. Openly discuss what you both feel should be included in the document. Make sure to mention what will become of all future assets accumulated as a married couple. As far as the law goes, the best part of having a  pre-nup is that you are not depending on the divorce laws of any state to protect you financially. You are deciding what the two of you want is different than the contract that state law would give you in the case of a divorce. You’re making the decisions about your life, not the state.

After the pre-nup is written, witnessed, and signed, forget about it. Liken it to a will,You don’t often think about it but, when you do, you feel secure knowing you have one.

The ideal marriage should be a contract that takes into consideration many components: love, respect, and economics. Protecting what you have as well as your future is a smart move in all ways.


  • Kristen Houghton

    Kristen Houghton

    Thrive Global

    Kristen Houghton is the award-winning author of the popular series, A Cate Harlow Private Investigation.  She is also the author of nine novels, two non-fiction books, a collection of short stories, a book of essays, and a children’s novella. Her horror novel, Welcome to Hell, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. Houghton has covered politics, news, and lifestyle issues as a contributor to the Huffington Post. Her writing portfolio includes Criminal Element Magazine, a division of Macmillan Publishing, Today, senior fiction editor at Bella Magazine, interviews and reviews for HBO documentaries, OWN, The Oprah Winfrey Network, and The Style Channel. Before becoming a full-time  author, Kristen, who holds an Ed.D. in linguistics, taught World Languages on the high school and university levels. Along with her husband, educator Alan William Hopper, she is a philanthropist for Project Literacy and Shelters With Heart, safe havens for victims of domestic abuse and their pets . mailto:  [email protected]