MIAMI, Florida. According to NBC News, the gender pay gap may be far worse than initially estimated. Reports indicate that when researchers consider time off for family leave and for child care, women earn only half of what men earn. When women have children or take time off to care for children or sick relatives, they may take this time off without pay. Women are far more likely than men to take time off for caregiving, and this can seriously impact their earnings, not only for the time they take off, but also their earnings over the course of a lifetime. If you are getting married, now might be the time to consider the ways marriage (and caretaking responsibilities) could impact your ability to make money. Could a good prenuptial agreement protect you in the long term?

Prenuptial agreements can help clarify what constitutes shared property and what is considered separate property before you get married. If you have worked hard to protect your career and amass assets, property, or investments, you’ll want to make sure that this property is still considered yours should you ever get divorced. A good prenuptial agreement can also be a wonderful way to begin planning financially for your future with your future wife or husband. If you plan to have children, how will childcare be managed? If you will have children, should considerations be made for lost wages due to time that may be missed from work by one partner? Giving birth usually involves some natural recovery time, but also many women may take several months or even a year off during the child’s early years for caretaking. Should the wages lost due to childcare be factored into your prenuptial agreement?

Even if you have no money or assets, a prenuptial agreement may still be wise. If one or both partners going into the marriage are still in school, any student loans that you take out after you get married can be considered marital debt, according to Time. In some cases, women suffer from the pay gap, because they might put their own careers aside to support their partner. For example, if your partner is still in school working to become a doctor, and you will be working to support the family during this time, it might be important to consider this investment in your future in the prenuptial agreement. Sometimes women put their careers on the back burner to support a husband’s ambitions, but this has a cost. A prenuptial agreement can make clear that these investments are being made and that if a divorce would take place, both parties still stand to benefit from their investment. This may mean alimony amounts or certain guarantees about how any property or future assets will be divided.

Whether you are poor or wealthy, much can change over the course of a marriage. Marriage is as much a financial and legal partnership as much as it is one of love. Drafting a prenuptial agreement before you tie the knot is a great way to talk about financial planning with your future partner. can help you ask the tough questions so that you can write a sound prenuptial agreement that will give you peace of mind as you enter your new married future. As time passes, your financial story will change. A prenuptial agreement can protect you should you get divorced, or should things change. Whether you are wealthy, middle class, or poor, more and more couples are choosing to sign prenuptial agreements before they tie the knot.

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