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Should I get a prenup?

Prenuptial agreements are becoming more common--and for good reason, as more couples recognize their advantages. For example, a prenup can help protect your business and any assets you bring into the marriage. If your beloved has a heavy debt load, a prenup can also shield you against having to pay any of the debt if the two of you potentially divorce.

Of course, prenups may not be for everyone. Couples might opt to skip one if neither person has a business, assets, debts, children, stay-at-home plans or expected inheritances that they would bring into the marriage. Here is a look at why some of these factors matter:

Children

If you bring children into a marriage, especially if they are not your fiance or fiancee's children, they could end up shortchanged if a divorce occurs. A prenup sets down firm guidelines for which assets you bring into the marriage and makes it extremely unlikely that your partner would end up with them at some point instead of the children.

Assets

Be careful about how you treat the assets you had before getting married, even if you have a prenup. For instance, if your prenup states that your $100,000 in the bank is yours, but you transfer $40,000 into a joint account with your spouse, your spouse may try to claim a share of that $40,000. It is possible that he or she could do so despite the prenup because of commingling, or mixing assets that were previously separate property.

Staying at home

A spouse who stays at home, whether to take care of children or to support the other spouse in business endeavors, is at risk in terms of the job market. That is, being out of the job market for just a few years can lead to significant lost income and hardships when trying to break back into the sector after a divorce. A prenup helps ensure that a stay-at-home spouse's contributions are recognized and that the spouse will be in adequate financial shape no matter what.

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