A prenuptial agreement is a legal document created by a couple and their legal representatives that establishes mutual property and financial agreements in the event of divorce or separation. The framework and the legalities of a prenuptial agreement vary depending on where the couple lives.
Why is a Prenuptial Agreement Needed?
Any person that has significant individual assets should seriously consider having a have a prenuptial agreement. Those who have had a previous marriage or already have children especially need a prenuptial agreement.
Provisions for children you might have during the marriage are also important. A prenuptial agreement protects both parties from extensive legal fees and divorce costs in the event either party decides to dissolve the marriage. By having a prenuptial agreement in place, couples can protect the family’s assets from protracted legal costs.
Prenuptial Agreements- Not Only for the Wealthy
Prenuptial agreements are not just for the wealthy. Many couples do not realize that a marriage merges assets automatically. Any two people with homes, stocks, retirement funds, a business or children from a previous marriage should consider getting a prenuptial agreement.
The Benefits of Having a Prenuptial Agreement
Certain prenuptial provisions are beneficial to everyone. Prenuptial contracts protect each partner’s interests in the marriage. Some provisions can include protecting the inheritance rights of future children and children from previous marriages, limiting a spouse’s legal rights to a business founded prior to the marriage, protection from paying debts incurred prior to the marriage and spousal support issues. These agreements can also contain provisions that are requested by either partner concerning just about anything that pertains to the marriage relationship.
The Drawbacks of Getting a Prenuptial Agreement
Creating a prenuptial agreement can cause difficulties. A prenuptial agreement might require you to relinquish your rights to a spouse’s estate should your partner die. If a business was involved as part of your prenuptial agreement, but you have contributed to increasing its profitability, you still could lose claim to its increased value in a divorce settlement. Wages change during a marriage and prearranged divorce settlements might not consider that.
There is an emotional toll when getting a prenuptial agreement. Couples might feel uncomfortable itemizing each other’s assets during the creation of a prenuptial agreement. Some might feel that trust is lacking in the relationship. Personal feelings of love and the wish to avoid conflict might affect prenuptial negotiations, leading to a contract that isn't equitable.
How to Ask for a Prenuptial Agreement
A prenuptial agreement is not about trust. It is about protecting assets and limiting legal fees. Having a prenuptial agreement does not mean that spouses do not benefit from the assets brought into the marriage, it just means that if anyone decides to dissolve the marriage each individual’s assets are protected from a divorce settlement.
Requesting a prenuptial agreement needs to be discussed in an honest and open manner. Discuss your reasons for requesting a prenuptial. By giving your partner the opportunity to understand your reasons for requesting a prenuptial he or she might be more willing to create one.