Money & Love: Pre-Nuptial Agreements
Many girls feel about icky bringing up money when they’re in the first throes of love, but while thinking of a future break-up is a bit of a buzz-killer, smart girls know not every relationship lasts the long haul.
If you’re about to get married, shacking up with your partner or considering purchasing a major asset, it’s essential you have some pretty frank discussion around what should happen if things don’t pan out the way you plan.
It’s also a good idea to seek independent legal advice so you can make sure your assets and interests are protected.
The extract below from Girls Just Want to Have Fund$ gives an intro to this often-complicated facet of “grown-up” life.
For individual advice on nuptial agreements you will need to consult your legal advisor. It is important not to feel afraid of taking legal advice to protect your assets and lifestyles.
It is not greedy or tacky and certainly, in the case of a
relationship, does not indicate you do not love your partner. I am often asked to talk to groups about women and money, including, recently, an all girl school where I talked to the graduating class who were to attend university or enter the workforce.
I strongly urged the young women to discuss the organisation of a pre-nuptial agreement prior to entering into a relationship. The reaction from these modern young women was one of horror.
They could not, they informed me, discuss money in case they fought about it with their partner, or ‘he’ thought that he wasn’t loved. I pointed out that if the relationship couldn’t cope with a frank but respectful discussion of money and property issues, it probably was not a very good one!
A pre- or post-nuptial agreement makes a lot of sense, not only in that it will protect your share of any assets in the case of divorce or separation, but that it sets out a blueprint agreement on financial and ownership issues.
These days, de facto relationships are treated the same way as marital relationships. Relationship property is all property acquired for the common use and benefit of both parties in the relationship.
This relates to all property acquired after the relationship begins, whichever partner makes the contribution. For example if you inherit money from your great aunt and pay off the mortgage, the mortgage-free house is relationship property. It may be that you wish to keep your inheritance separate from joint property; a pre- or post-nuptial agreement would identify that, and would list separate property – this could be assets acquired prior to the relationship, inheritances, or gifts.
An agreement can identify property you wish to keep separate, for example heirlooms, or can preserve property for children – and save legal costs – in the event of a separation.
Agreements are not written in stone and can be revisited and altered. I know of one couple who review their agreement annually in conjunction with revisiting their budget and life goals – an excellent idea in my opinion.
One shouldn’t be afraid to address financial and property issues – they can become emotional – and a written agreement can remove a lot of hurt generated by financial discussions.
Girls Just want to have Fund$ – Everywoman’s Guide to Financial Independence
By Sheryl Sutherland. ISBN: 9781877361135. RRP: $29.95
Available at your bookseller
Click here for more information on the Ministry of Justice site on the Property Relationships Act.
Keen to find out more? Head to www.westpac.co.nz. They have heaps of great solutions to make your money work for you.