A prenuptial agreement is effectively a contract between fiancés. This agreement sets expectations for the marital relationship and outlines what may happen if the relationship ends in the future. Prenuptial agreements were once rather rare but have become quite popular in recent years.
With more families consisting of two working professionals, the need to protect oneself at the beginning of a marriage now seems like common sense to most people. People from many different circumstances may determine that they need to draft a prenuptial agreement in order to better safeguard their interests and to better ensure that their marriage starts off on solid footing.
These are just some of the most common reasons why people may choose to negotiate a marital agreement before tying the knot.
1. They want to protect certain assets
Perhaps one fiancé already owns their own home and they do not want to risk the loss of their equity in the event of a divorce. A prenuptial agreement is, in part, a means for couples to protect specific assets. Prenuptial agreements allow couples to designate certain property as separate so that it won’t be included in the pool of marital property should they ever divorce.
2. They anticipate a later inheritance
Technically, inherited assets are usually separate property. However, it is quite common for people to endanger inherited resources by commingling them with marital property. Fiancés who disclose their likely inheritance prior to marriage will have an easier time protecting that inheritance and helping their future spouse establish realistic expectations for their rights regarding that property.
3. Either spouse was married before
Some couples don’t have a specific asset they want to protect. They simply want to avoid the mess of a litigated divorce. Especially when either spouse had a previous marriage, the possibility of divorce may be higher for the couple.
Prenuptial agreements can set a married couple up for a low-cost, low-conflict uncontested divorce in the event that their marriage doesn’t last. Many couples find that the process of negotiating a prenuptial agreement can actually help make their relationship healthier and stronger. From discussing what each spouse expects of the other to clarifying what would happen at the end of the relationship, it can be easier for couples to fully commit when they have a realistic idea of what to expect. Negotiating a prenuptial agreement is one way of addressing family law matters proactively and with the clear-eyed vision that comes from having such discussions when tensions aren’t running high.