Marriage is just the beginning of a close relationship. Couples can recognize deep emotional ties long before marrying, but saying "I do" brings new legal and financial considerations into the relationship. According to Business Insider, Millennials have more than $1 trillion in debt, much of it in the form of student loans. Do you want to be held responsible for your spouse's tuition debt?
Spouses can protect themselves from another's financial burden well before a marriage begins. A prenup agreement, signed before the wedding, can clarify spousal responsibilities to debt. How does this process work?
It's all part of a civil agreement
In a legal sense, marriage means that you and your spouse come to a civil agreement to share each other's successes and burdens in life. The burden of debt could be one of those shared responsibilities if you don't make the proper arrangements to avoid it.
Usually, people think that a prenup is only necessary for couples who are likely to get divorced. However, when a prenup defines who is responsible for a debt, it can act as a helpful financial planning guide for the future of the marriage. Once you and your soon-to-be-spouse have a financial plan in place, you can focus on paying down debts and establishing productive spending habits.
How an attorney can help
Many couples undergo some form of counseling before marriage. For example, a couple that chooses to take religious vows in their marriage may have to take spiritual guidance from a clergyperson before he or she agrees to preside over the ceremony. Likewise, seeking the help of a family law attorney can provide couples with the right legal and financial advice before stepping up to the altar.
Discussing a prenup requires a candid conversation between you and your future spouse. An attorney can help get this conversation started and guide the agreement in a manner that is in accordance with the law. After couples have an agreement in writing, an attorney can present the prenup to a judge, who will, again, ensure that it is fair.
Debt is becoming a new reality of life for Millennials, but attitudes toward prenups are changing too. Dealing with debt often requires creative strategies, and having a prenuptial agreement in place before saying "I do" can provide some peace of mind for future of a marriage.