It’s such an emotionally charged issue. How do you recommend someone approach it?
Start talking about it as soon as you get engaged. This shouldn’t be a last-minute request for a signature outside the church. If you’re recently engaged, this is the perfect time to bring it up because you can use your taxes as an excuse. Next year, you’ll file jointly, so even though it’s uncomfortable, I suggest you exchange returns as a way to start the conversation.
Isn’t it expensive?
You get what you pay for. According to a new study by The Wedding Report, the average engagement ring costs over $3,300. By comparison, the attorney fees for a pre-nup will probably start at about $2,000. You’ll need to contact a family attorney and both you and your betrothed will both need your own lawyer. Don’t try the do-it-yourself route on this one. Your cousin the notary is not going to cut it. Anything you draft on your own will not stand up in court.
There are some online resources if you’re very concerned about costs and just need a simple agreement. For example, Legalzoom.com has a “prenup package” that starts at $600.
Any other tips?
Absolutely. When preparing a pre-nup, you’d of course address any property, retirement accounts, and any debt. But you should also consider sentimental belongings like furniture and other non-traditional things like pets. Sorting it out now could save you a major headache in the future.
Also, even if a couple doesn’t draft a formal prenuptial agreement, it is critical that they have a completely honest discussion about finances prior to the “I Do’s.” That means coming clean about any outstanding debts and setting some parameters about how you will manage your finances as a couple.
Many studies cite financial issues as one of the top causes of divorce—right alongside communication problems and infidelity. Why? Frequently, couples don’t realize they have very different values around money until they’ve tied the knot and co-mingled their accounts. Don’t make that mistake! If it’s a June wedding, first go for the April pre-nup.
Celebrating Black Love
1. Solange and Alan Ferguson1 of 28
2. Ice Cube and Kimberly2 of 28
3. Niecy Nash and Jay Tucker3 of 28
4. Tia and Corey Hardict4 of 28
5. Tamar Braxton and Vincent Herbert5 of 28
6. David and Tamela Mann6 of 28
7. Laila Ali and Curtis Conway7 of 28
8. Morris Chestnut and his wife8 of 28
9. Shannon and Monica Brown9 of 28
10. Terry and Rebecca Crews10 of 28
11. Kerry Washington and Nnamdi Asomugha11 of 28
12. LeBron and Savannah James12 of 28
13. Tisha Campbell and Duane Martin13 of 28
14. Devon Franklin and Meagan Good14 of 28
15. Tamia and Grant Hill15 of 28
16. Denzel and Pauletta Washington16 of 28
17. Keisha and Omar Epps17 of 28
18. Bill & Camille Cosby18 of 28
19. Alfre Woodward and Roderick Spencer19 of 28
20. Angela Bassett and Courtney Vance20 of 28
21. Jada and Will Smith21 of 28
22. Beyonce and Jay-Z22 of 28
23. Nicole and Boris Kodjoe23 of 28
24. Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz24 of 28
25. Tiny and T.I.25 of 28
26. Samuel L. Jackson & Latanya Richardson26 of 28
27. Rodney Peete & Holly Robinson Peete27 of 28
28. Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis28 of 28
Getting Married? Prenups Aren’t Just For the Rich and Famous was originally published on blackamericaweb.com