Prenuptial Agreements: For Good, Not Harm
Prenups – also known as prenuptial, separation, or premarital agreements – arguably became more mainstream when Kanye West rapped “Holla, ‘We want prenup! We want prenup!’ (Yeah) It’s somethin’ that you need to have ‘Cause when she leave, she gon’ leave with half” in his 2005 hit “Gold Digger”. Unfortunately, quoting Kanye’s famous line when introducing the idea of a prenup to your soon-to-be-spouse does not make the conversation any easier or less awkward. Let’s face it, whether you are a week or several months into your engagement, there is no joy in planning and discussing your divorce. Moreover prenups carried a negative connotation long before Kanye began rapping about them.
However, a prenup is more than a legal tool that sets the terms of the divorce. It can serve to protect one or both parties during the marriage. This is especially true in a community property state like Arizona where every asset and debt incurred during the marriage is the community’s responsibility.
Whether a spouse is incurring substantial student loan debt to fund undergraduate or post-graduate education, creating a start-up or new business, or buying a pet there is always risk involved. Sometimes, you or your soon-to-be-spouse may make the adult decision to not expose yourself or themself to the risk. That is fine and commendable.
In those circumstances a prenuptial agreement is a smart and useful tool that can be as versatile as you and your soon-to-be spouse want it to be. It can assign tax responsibility, classify business ventures as separate or community obligations, determine financial responsibility for debts and other obligations to one or both spouses, address acquired real property, and determine who receives Fido.
So if an engagement or marriage is on the horizon and you are considering a prenup I suggest you modify Kanye’s line to this: “Holla, ‘We want prenup! We want prenup!’ (Yeah) It’s somethin’ that we need to have because I may be taking on financial risk and I do not want to expose you to half” and go on to discuss how a prenuptial agreement will benefit your financial future and marriage.