As you prepare for your marriage, you make multiple plans. You plan a wedding, choosing colors, food, centerpieces and venue. You plan for where you will live and how many children you will have. But do you have a plan for your finances?

When it comes to finances, your marriage is a business contract. And like any good contract, you may want to include an agreement for what happens if your marriage ends. While you may not expect to go through a divorce, a prenuptial agreement, or prenup, creates a clear plan for your financial future.

Why would I need a prenup?

You can use a prenuptial agreement to protect property or assets that you gained before marriage. If you own things like real estate, stocks, family heirlooms or your own business, a prenup defines how much a divorce can divide these belongings. By agreeing on this division ahead of time, you can avoid costly legal fees and protect these assets.

Keeping debt separate

A prenup can also define how to deal with debt. With the high cost of education, many people bring student loans into marriage. And different spending habits can mean that one spouse might have higher loans or credit card debt.

Signing a prenup helps these spouses decide who is responsible for debt brought into the marriage. It can also ease the tension of one spouse suddenly having to deal with the other spouse’s debt.

Early discussion can lead to a solid plan

Discussing your finances and a prenup before you get married can be unromantic and awkward. But as you and your spouse join your lives, your assets can become jointly owned instead of separately owned. Talking about what assets you have and how you expect to use them can help the two of you make a solid financial plan.

And if you want to make sure that your high-value assets stay protected, you may choose to use a prenuptial agreement.