Couples in all economic brackets increasingly use prenuptial agreements. In the past, these agreements had a reputation for enabling rich spouse (usually a man) who remarries to exercise financial control over a partner who is less financially stable (usually a woman). Others considered them to be unromantic and a predetermined divorce plan when the marriage falls apart. In an era where both spouses can have successful careers, it may make sense to set some ground rules.
Planning for the marriage’s future
There are many benefits for couples to discuss a prenup. Many faiths require couples counseling before marriage, and a prenup can help the couple establish goals for the marriage, including family plans, financial guidelines, career paths and lifestyle choices. It creates transparency for what each spouse wants, which means there are fewer intractable surprises later.
A safety net for those hurt in the past
Prenups have long been popular with couples who remarry. It can provide peace of mind for those who went through contentious divorces that were hurtful, difficult for the children, or perhaps impacted their business ownership. Moreover, advocates argue that the prenup never comes into play if they remain married and work towards the agreed-upon goals.
Prenups need to be fair
There is a fear that a spouse who signed a prenup may be left with little or nothing after years of marriage and raising a family. However, prenups are most likely to hold up in court if there are fair and equitable arrangements regarding parents’ rights, financial security and other priorities. For it to be valid, the agreement must be considered voluntary for both spouses.
Organizing a messy financial situation
Couples are cohabitating much longer these days before getting married. Common reasons include both partners actively pursuing successful careers or other life goals before starting a family. It can mean years of comingled assets before the wedding day. A prenup can help determine who gets certain assets or clarify financial contributions to the partnership before, during and after the marriage.
They are something to discuss with an attorney
Whether the couple chooses to draft a prenuptial agreement or not, it is good to have frank discussions regarding their aspirations for their marriage and their personal goals. An attorney can also be a part of this conversation to determine if a prenup makes sense for the couple and, if necessary, moving forward and drafting one.