Romance is essential for a happy marriage, but that’s not all it takes – and unfortunately things like paperwork and prenuptial agreements are often last on the list when it comes to what couples like to talk about.
How you set up your marital agreement can affect your ability to get credit, and a prenuptial agreement can be essential for protecting yourself and your partner against bad credit in future. Prenuptial agreements are for more than just getting divorced, and they should be talked about far more often than they are.
Here’s what you should know about prenuptial agreements – and why it’s important to have one in place.
Prenuptial (or Antenuptial Agreements): What Are They?
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that’s usually set up before a couple ties the knot, but can also be set up at any point during the marriage with the help of a lawyer. It sets out certain conditions and divides both assets and credit between two partners – with a prenup, each is responsible for their own wealth, bank accounts and credit.
Without a prenuptial agreement, assets are considered combined instead. This includes credit cards and loans, which means that you could be held responsible for their loans in the event of disagreements with creditors.
Credit Protection for Both: The Prenup
If you have a prenuptial agreement in place, then it means that you are responsible for your own credit score and your partner is responsible for theirs. The same way you are responsible for your own credit, and they are for theirs.
A prenuptial agreement can be set up before or after marriage, but it’s a lengthy and complicated process to do it after you’ve been married, and might be more expensive.
The Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement
Do we really need a prenuptial agreement? If you want to protect yourself and your partner financially, the answer is yes.
Remember that you can still have a joint bank account even if you have a prenuptial agreement set up.
A prenuptial agreement is beneficial for both, whether you stay married or don’t. Skipping out on a prenuptial agreement only guarantees a massive amount of issues later on, especially when it comes to who owes what – or who owns what – even if you don’t get divorced.
Does a Prenuptial Agreement Need a Lawyer?
It’s best to consult with a lawyer to draw up a prenuptial agreement. While you can draft one yourself, a lawyer still needs to have it appropriately registered. If you can’t afford a lawyer but still want to find out more, there are options like Legal-Aid South Africa, or legal insurance options like FNB Law on Call or Scorpion Legal who can help.
Frequently Asked Questions About Credit & Marriage
Anything else you’d like to know before tying the knot? Here are some essential answered questions about credit and marriage.
Can I be held responsible for my partner’s bad or unpaid credit?
If you were married without a prenuptial agreement (or you and your partner have a joint bank account), then the answer is yes.
What if I’m not responsible for my partner’s credit, but debt collectors are still calling me?
If you aren’t responsible for your partner’s credit and have the relevant proof, approach the debt collector to explain the mix-up – and if this doesn’t work, approach the NCR for further steps.
How does a prenuptial agreement protect my partner and I when it comes to credit?
A prenuptial agreement defines assets and credit of each partner as their own; this means that each is responsible for their own credit, bank accounts and financial health.
Can a prenuptial agreement be set up after marriage?
If you were married without a prenuptial agreement and decide that you’d like one later on, it can still be done with the help of a lawyer.
It’s hard to bring up the subject of a prenuptial contract with my partner. How can this be easier?
It might not be easy to speak about finances as a couple – but you should, or you’re financially doomed from the start.
Bring up the topic of wills and prenuptial agreements the moment you and your partner combine assets, even if you aren’t married yet. It’s pretty important, and you’ll be guaranteed to be financially healthier than any other couple who didn’t prepare as well.
Alex J. Coyne
Alex J. Coyne is a writer, journalist and card player. He's been published in international publications including Moneyweb, CollegeHumor, Funds for Writers, Great Bridge Links, Bridge Canada Magazine and a variety of others