When You Don’t Need a Prenup

Ben asked me a couple of weeks ago, “Do we still have to get a prenup?’ With our wedding soon approaching, he wants to make sure we check off everything on our long to-do list.

Getting a prenup is something he obviously doesn’t want to do. And in true financial planner form, I think it’s something that is essential for us. But as I have said before, the most important part is having an open and honest discussion about it.

We’ve talked about the topic many times before, and I’ve done some more research both online and in discussions with some lawyer friends of mine about whether a prenup would benefit us. It turns out it may not since we have been together for so long and have already comingled most of our assets (including the house we just purchased). 

In addition to having comingled assets, our estate plans currently have all of our assets going to the other as the primary beneficiary, we aren’t planning on having any children, and neither of us are carrying a huge debt load.  Many same-sex couples who have been together a while, but can just now get married, will run into this same issue.

For those of you in that situation or just looking for an excuse not to get a prenup, here are some other circumstances where a prenup may not benefit you:

You Both Come to the Marriage on Equal Footing: A prenup can help protect a much richer person or much poorer person from inequitable treatment should the marriage dissolve. However, couples with fairly equal income, wealth, and education levels shouldn’t run into many problems in the event of a divorce.

Neither of You Have Much In Assets: If your not coming to the marriage with much in the first place, there is not much for you to protect. Additionally, many states have also already adopted the concept that what was acquired up to the marriage by each individual stays separate property.

You Want to Split Everything Evenly: One of my main arguments of getting a prenup was making sure that Ben was treated fairly if something should happen to the marriage. My rationale was that I’m more likely to do that now in a time of love, rather than in the midst of a hostile divorce. To that point, many courts are adopting simple formulas for a division of assets, which would like lead to a fair splitting.

We still haven’t decided yet whether we’re going to proceed with getting a prenup. But I’m less certain than I was before, especially If the prenup won’t actually benefit either of us. We could spend the extra $1000-$2000 on something much more fun.

I’ll definitely keep you posted of the outcome.