While some people think a prenuptial agreement is only for wealthy individuals, more “regular” people are choosing to sign one before they tie the knot. In a prenup, the couple addresses specific topics such as finances, property rights, and even lifestyle clauses. The agreement is a legally binding contract, which is why it should not be entered into lightly. Before the wedding, you may not think anything wrong is going to happen to your relationship and may not understand the weight of your decisions, which is why using prenuptial attorneys can help assist you through the process.
While a prenuptial agreement is a smart thing in many marriages, there are pros and cons associated with one. Make sure you do your research and know what you are deciding on, so you do not find yourself in a problematic situation somewhere in the future.
Pros of a Prenuptial Agreement
Asset and Debt Protection
Most prenup agreements outline that each spouse gets to keep any money, property, or other assets they had before entering into the marriage. If one spouse enters the marriage with debt, such as student loans or credit card balances, a prenup can also protect the other spouse from assuming this debt upon marriage dissolution.
A prenup is especially helpful in second or subsequent marriages. They can ensure the heirs of previous marriages receive property or money instead of your ex-spouse getting it. You can also outline what happens if one of you receives a substantial inheritance during the marriage. A prenuptial can make sure the money stays within the family.
Determines Spousal Support
A prenup can limit the amount of paid spousal support in the event of divorce. If you know one of you will be quitting your career to stay home with future children, or one of you will be supporting the other’s education pursuit, you can also outline how that spouse will be compensated for making that type of sacrifice.
Determine Lifestyle Decisions
Besides financial decisions, a prenup can talk in detail about how you both will share child-rearing responsibilities or make significant decisions. Some agreements even have clauses surrounding cheating or other indiscretions.
Decreases Time and Expense During Divorce
Going through a divorce can be costly, especially if each of you hires an attorney. With a prenuptial agreement in place, much less time is spent making decisions or fighting about assets, and this results in fewer costs.
Cons of a Prenuptial Agreement
May Stir Up Resentment
Not everyone sees the benefits of discussing these pressing issues and putting them in a business-like contract. One spouse may resent the process or think the other one has one foot out the door already.
Can be Disadvantageous for a Spouse
If the prenup is too limited, the spouse who gave up their career to raise children or the one who earns a lot less than the other spouse may not get the deserved compensation.
Difficult to Predict the Future
While some marriage issues are easily predicted, it is hard to know the exact situations that present each marriage. This makes it harder to agree on how these challenges will or should be taken care of.
May be Unfair
During the happy stages before getting married, one partner may not take the time to read the contract or feel pressured to sign it. In the cases of partial disclosure, fraudulent practices, or coercion, the courts may not honor the prenup, and the couple is back to square one.
Contact a Good Lawyer to Learn More
There are many things to consider before entering into a marriage, and a prenuptial agreement is one of them. Make sure you speak with prenuptial attorneys who have experience and know the right questions to ask. Contact the Law Offices of Segal Duffek Moen to get more information on the topic and to figure out your own prenup.