Many people meet their future spouses in college or graduate school. If they decide to marry while they’re still completing their education or soon after graduation, they may see no need for a prenuptial agreement. They likely have few assets and may be deeply mired in student loan debt. How can they put themselves in a mindset where they’re thinking about who will get which homes, boats, artwork, bank accounts and all the other things they don’t have (and perhaps never will) if the marriage ends?
One attorney explains that her job is to help clients minimize their risk in a worst-case scenario (like the marriage ending). This requires looking into the future. At some point, that student loan debt will be behind you. You may have a thriving medical practice that you built from the ground up or your spouse may own a successful multinational company thanks to an idea they had and developed. If you remain in Texas, which is a community property state, you would each have the right to receive an equal share of the assets accumulated from that hard work and ingenuity unless you have a prenup in place.
Even if you ultimately decide not to get a prenup, it’s worthwhile to have a serious conversation before you begin commingling your finances. Do you plan to live frugally while paying off your debts and save for a home and children? Would you rather do some international traveling as a child-free couple before you have a family, even if it means accumulating some credit card debt? It’s important to make sure that you and your partner have similar goals and attitudes towards money before you marry rather than to find out later on that you are fiscally incompatible.
Developing a prenup doesn’t have to be about contemplating divorce. It can help you focus on what assets (even those you don’t have yet) you and your partner consider yours to keep. Your attorney can provide other ideas for provisions that it may be wise to include in your prenup based on your individual priorities and goals.