Readers of this blog likely have some awareness of what a prenuptial agreement accomplishes. However, being aware of this legal resource is not necessarily the same as knowing if a prenup is right for you.
Too many people make the mistake of dismissing a prenuptial agreement as something reserved only for high-profile or very wealthy couples. This can be a costly misconception, as there are many reasons why all types of people will want to at least consider executing a prenuptial agreement.
- You have a lot of debt: Millions of Americans carry some amount of debt. If this includes you (or your fiancé), that debt can become a shared debt after marriage. This means that both people will be held accountable for repaying something that only one person actually accumulated. A prenup can specify ownership of debt so that the other person is not held accountable unfairly.
- You have children from another marriage: A prenup can be critical for people who want to protect certain assets and finances they want to reserve for children from a previous relationship. This can be especially powerful in the event of a parent's death, as those assets could be distributed to the spouse instead of the children.
- You own a business: Protecting your individual interests in a business with a prenup can be crucial. If you do not do this, you could wind up losing a portion of the business' appreciation during the course of your marriage to your ex.
- You hate the idea of bitter legal disputes: A prenup can resolve issues that would otherwise lead to a messy, lengthy courtroom battle. They also allow two people to make decisions based on what makes sense instead of doing so out of spite and anger.
Of course prenups can be important for wealthy people, but they can also provide critical protection for people who simply have something they want to protect, whether that is a business, their kids or their own financial obligations.
If you find yourself re-thinking a prenuptial agreement and believe that it may actually be a good resource for you to consider, you will want to discuss your options and the process of drafting an enforceable agreement with your attorney. You may even want to have the two of consider meeting with a mediator to help facilitate the conversation. Many couples are also using the collaborative practice models - meeting with each of your attorneys and a mental health professional (s) that will create a very positive discussion of why the two of you need a prenuptial agreement and to discuss each of your goals and objectives.
Source: FindLaw.com, "Can Prenuptial Agreements Help You?" accessed on April 6, 2016