Insights | Articles

What is a Prenup and Who Needs One?


Many genuine, loving couples choose to get a prenuptial agreement to protect themselves, one another, and their families. Here, we outline some of the most common reasons, to help you decide if a prenuptial agreement is right for you.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

Many of our clients ask, what exactly does a prenup do? A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that defines what will remain individual, personal property and what will become jointly owned property at the time of marriage. In addition, you may also use a prenuptial agreement to define alimony expectations. This process gives you the opportunity to carefully plan for both of your best interests without the stress that inevitably comes with divorce; you’re essentially protecting your futures, no matter what they may hold.

Advantages of a Prenuptial Agreement

There are many advantages to completing a prenuptial agreement ahead of your wedding day. Here are just a few:

  • A prenuptial agreement can significantly reduce the cost of divorce. According to Bankrate, the average divorce costs around $15,000 per person, but can reach $100,000 depending on complexity.
  • It leads to fairer terms, as decisions are not made in anger.
  • A prenuptial agreement can make for a more harmonious marriage, with greater communication and without the tension that would otherwise be caused when new decisions are made. For example:
    • It is helpful for partners that give up their careers to take care of children to make this decision with an awareness of the protection they have in place, preventing anxiety and resentment.
    • It protects a wealthier partner with business ownership or family inheritance. It also protects ownership of sentimental items and family heirlooms.
    • It can define and protect you from taking on your partner’s debt if they enter the marriage with loans or credit card bills.

Who Needs a Prenuptial Agreement?

Prenuptial agreements are no longer just for the rich and famous; anyone can benefit from open communication and a concept that protects the interests of both parties. If you’ve been married before, already have children, struggle with debt or own a business, a prenuptial agreement is for you. Take a look to see if any of the following factors apply to you.   

One of You Has a High Net Worth

If you have a high net worth, property, or will eventually inherit an estate, you have good reason to choose a prenuptial agreement. A prenup can give you peace of mind that your partner has the best intentions for your relationship.

One of You Struggles with Debt

Many couples have different financial backgrounds when entering a relationship. If your partner already has debt or gets into debt during your marriage, a prenuptial agreement can clarify where the debt originated, which partner will be responsible for payment of the debt, protect your assets.

One of You Will Stay at Home with the Kids

The decision to give up your job and stay at home to raise children is not taken lightly and can cause resentment without proper communication. A prenuptial agreement can help facilitate this communication now, to protect the spouse that chooses to put their career on hold.

You Have Children

Those who already have children may be concerned about protecting their inheritance. A prenuptial agreement enables you to leave money, sentimental items, and property to children from past relationships.

You’ve Been Married Before

Those that have been married before have the benefit of past experience. You may have already experienced an unpleasant divorce, and be aware of the time and cost the process incurred. Perhaps you wish you had the protection of a prenup last time. You may also have a better understanding of why a prenuptial agreement is necessary; no matter how much we love our spouse on our wedding day, the future is unpredictable.

You’re a Business Owner

There are multiple reasons why a prenup is essential to protect your business in the event of a divorce:

  • If you are a co-owner, it can protect other business partners.
  • It can protect your spouse from business debt and liabilities.
  • It can protect your ownership interests in the business in the event of a divorce.

You Value Your Privacy

A prenuptial agreement protects your right to privacy, as you agree not to disclose information about one another, in the form of social media posts or other means.

Contact Our Maryland Family Lawyers Today

It is wise to work on your prenuptial agreement in significant advance of your wedding day, as this process ensures boundaries are set while you and your spouse-to-be are in a good position to make carefully thought-out decisions.

Bear in mind that laws around prenuptial agreements vary between states, and a prenuptial agreement must meet the requirements of your state in order to be enforceable. If you need a prenuptial agreement in Maryland, the District of Columbia, or Virginia, our prenuptial agreement attorneys are here to serve you. Contact us today to set up a free consultation.

Subscribe to JGL Insights

With our attorneys’ wealth of industry knowledge, we specialize in providing leading information to our clients.

Let’s Talk.