Protect Yourself from Debt With a Prenup
Getting married can be an exciting time, but it also means joining finances, for better or worse. If your fiancé has significant debt, you may worry about how it could impact you after the wedding. A prenuptial agreement, or "prenup," can help protect you and your finances. Here's how it works:
Define Separate vs. Marital Property
A prenup allows couples to draw clear lines around what assets and debts are considered separate vs. marital property. Any property brought into the marriage by one partner can remain that person's separate property. This includes assets like:
- Bank, investment, and retirement accounts
- Real estate
- Business interests
- Vehicles and other personal property
Debt works the same way. Any debt one partner brings into the union remains his/her sole responsibility. There is no obligation for student loans, credit card balances, or other debts incurred pre-marriage by the other spouse.
Avoid Repaying Debts Post-Divorce
Let's say there's no prenup and five years into the marriage, one spouse's unchecked spending and debt destroys the relationship. In this case, the other partner could be responsible for repaying those debts even after divorce.
But with a prenup, couples clearly establish ahead of time that any outstanding debts are the responsibility of the person who incurred them. If the marriage dissolves, the other spouse can walk away free and clear.
Protect Your Credit Score
One often overlooked benefit of a prenup is protecting one partner's credit score from damage by the other's financial mistakes. Missed payments, overspending, late fees, and more can tank one spouse's creditworthiness but leave the other's unscathed with a prenup in place.
Given how vital good credit is for everything from buying a car to purchasing a home, shielding your score is important. A prenup does exactly that by minimizing any joint accounts or shared liability for debts.
While no one wants to plan for both a wedding and possible divorce, a prenup provides vital protection if your fiancé has significant debts or other financial issues. Contact a prenup and divorce attorney to explore your options. With some upfront planning, couples can enter marriage with confidence and peace of mind.
Disclaimer: The content provided in this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice and readers should not act upon any information provided without seeking professional legal counsel. The author does not guarantee the completeness or accuracy of the information provided. This blog is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader.