If you've waited to marry until you've firmly established your career and bought a home, you aren't alone. Many couples aren't tying the knot until they've had independence and success. Also, for many same-sex couples, marriage wasn't a possibility until the past few years.
Couples use prenuptial agreements to protect the assets that they bring into the marriage in case it doesn't last. Prenups are increasingly considered a necessary part of wedding planning, particularly for couples who have equity in a home and a fair amount of financial assets.
If you are the one in the relationship who already owns a home and you want to ensure that it doesn't become a joint asset that can be split in a divorce, it's essential to avoid commingling. For example, if your spouse contributes to the mortgage payments or helps pay for renovations, it's now considered marital property.
Of course, that may be best for both of you. However, it's essential to understand that simply listing something as an individual asset in the prenup won't prevent it from becoming a marital asset. This is true with financial accounts and other assets as well as credit cards and other types of debt.
It's important to know your partner's credit history and spending habits before you get a joint credit card or take out a loan. Even if you get a credit card together and you never use it, if your spouse charges thousands of dollars on it and doesn't pay it back on time, your credit score is impacted.
Those who have lived together for many years and then get married can still bring an entirely new set of financial complications into the relationship. That's why it's important to get sound legal, financial and tax advice before you say "I do."