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Knoxville Divorce Lawyer > Blog > Prenuptial Agreements > When in Debt, Sign a Prenup

When in Debt, Sign a Prenup


I’m in debt.  You’re in debt.  Most Americans have huge amounts of debt.  Debt can be a sore spot in marriages; it is, in fact, one of the subjects about which people are the most likely to lie to their spouses.  The best defense against debt ruining your marriage could be, of all things, the prenuptial agreement.  The media stereotype about prenuptial agreements is that they are legal instruments that aging tycoons use to prevent their young spouses from cleaning them out financially, thus enabling the tycoons to leave some money to the children of their first marriage, who are too spoiled to work for a living.  In reality, there is a lot more to prenups than the Big Lebowski making his bride Bunny promise that, when she demands alimony, she leaves her rich husband with enough money that he can pay for his daughter Maude to spend the rest of her life pursuing her misguided artistic ambitions. To find out more about how prenuptial agreements can help debt-burdened couples have a successful marriage, contact a Tennessee prenuptial agreement lawyer.

A Prenup Can Stop Debt from Destroying a Marriage

Most people who sign prenuptial agreements don’t want to get divorced.  They simply want to be on the same page about which assets belong to each individual and which assets belong to the couple. Some prenuptial agreements do not even contain any provisions about spousal support; if the couple divorces, the court can simply assess each spouse’s individual property and decide the fairest way to divide the joint property and can order spousal support if applicable.  Just as you can specify in a prenup that certain assets you owned at the time of the wedding will not become marital property, you can make similar provisions about debts.

Consider the following scenario.  When Rich and Mafalda get engaged, Rich has a bachelor’s degree in finance, paid for by a college fund set up by his parents, and in the four years since he graduated, he has had a well-paid job as an investment banker, thanks to his family connections.  Mafalda has just graduated with a Masters of Fine Arts in creative writing; she has funded her education mostly through student loans, has only ever worked as a waitress, and her parents cannot afford to help her pay for her education or pay for her loans.  How can Rich stop his relatives from insinuating that Mafalda is using him for his wealth?  How can Mafalda protect herself from Rich using his wealth to control her?

A prenuptial agreement can resolve their conflict.  It can stipulate that, if they divorce, Mafalda’s student loans will be her responsibility alone.  While they are married, both spouses can use their income to pay down Mafalda’s loans.  If they divorce and Mafalda’s income from her job as a professor of creative writing is less than Rich’s income as an investment banker, the court might still award her spousal support.  The prenup just shows that they have decided how Mafalda’s student loan debt fits into their financial plans as a family.

Contact Patrick L. Looper About Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements are not just about alimony.  Contact Knoxville prenuptial agreement attorney Patrick L. Looper for a consultation.




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