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Should you get a prenup?

A prenuptial or premarital agreement is a contract that engaged couples may consider to help protect their personal assets as they go into marriage. Often simply called a “prenup,” these agreements go into effect after the wedding, not before. 
 
It’s a common misconception that a prenup is something that’s only for wealthy people, or that making one shows a lack of confidence that the marriage will last. Neither of these things are true—there are several advantages to having a prenup that many engaged couples could consider. 

Prenups can help with preexisting debt

Prenuptial agreements can help spouses avoid taking on liability for the other’s preexisting debt. This is especially helpful when one spouse is bringing significantly more debt into the marriage than the other. 

Prenups can help when estate planning gets complicated

Having a prenup can help ensure your estate plans will be honored. For example, if a spouse wants to leave money to children from a previous marriage. The agreement can also detail the treatment of inheritances or separate property during a marriage.

Prenups can help set the stage for fair alimony

A prenuptial agreement may provide some protection for a spouse who leaves a career to raise children or run the household. You can make sure there are provisions for alimony or other maintenance payments. Keep in mind, alimony and spousal support laws differ around the country.1

When should you create a prenup?

Not every couple chooses to establish a prenuptial agreement—it’s not mandatory. For those who do, there’s no deadline. But it’s a good idea to start preparing the agreement 6 months before the wedding date or as early as possible.2

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1. Larry Upshaw, “It’s wedding season! 3 reasons aspiring stay-at-home moms need a prenup,” Connatserfamilylaw.com, July 25, 2022, https://connatserfamilylaw.com/its-wedding-season-3-reasons-aspiring-stay-at-home-moms-need-a-prenup/. 2. Anne W. Coventry and Natalie M. Perry, "What is a Prenuptial Agreement?," The American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, October 26, 2020, https://www.actec.org/estate-planning/what-is-a-prenuptial-agreement/.

This information is general in nature and provided for educational purposes only.

Fidelity does not provide legal or tax advice. The information herein is general in nature and should not be considered legal or tax advice. Consult an attorney or tax professional regarding your specific situation.

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