What are the pros and cons of signing a prenuptial agreement? Is a prenuptial agreement the right solution for your unique circumstances?
There have been many articles on the internet lately, which tout all the benefits of entering into a prenuptial or premarital agreement before you marry the supposed person of your dreams. Both people considering marriage should seriously take into consideration the real truth and facts associated with these agreements and question whether or not they truly protect you and your interests or if there is more cost than benefit.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement or “Pre-nup”?
A Prenuptial Agreement or “Pre-nup” is used as a legally binding contract that two people sign before joining in a legal union of marriage. The contract basically outlines who owns what and who owes what before the marriage and is intended to protect individual or family assets, a business or professional practice, intellectual or real property and/or funds.
Typically a prenuptial agreement will also dictate who would get what in the case the couple divorces and may even put stipulations on those awards. For example, if one person is unfaithful, the other is entitled to withhold spousal support, or if divorce happens after a certain amount of time, more support will be awarded.
Another sound example of a prenuptial issue is student loans. In most property division cases a student loan which was entered into prior to the marriage will remain the separate property (and responsibility) of the person who obtained it a student. The prenuptial agreement is a sound and proven tool to make sure any agreement entered into prior to the marriage is honored afterward.
Prenuptial agreements are often used in the event of a subsequent marriage, especially in the context of a blended family. There may be specific funds, family heirlooms or other assets which need to be set aside for children from a prior marriage. What are the pros and cons of signing a prenuptial agreement?
Pros of a Prenuptial Agreement
The benefits of a pre-nup are:
- A prenuptial agreement might protect your financial security
- A prenuptial agreement might protect the financial security and future for your offspring
- You may be able to make a plan for spousal support or alimony
- A prenuptial agreement typically cuts down on disputes.
Cons of a Pre-nup
The disadvantages of a pre-nup are:
- Drafting a prenuptial agreement can have an impact on the romance or feelings of commitment prior to a marriage
- Prenuptial agreements might cause undue burdens if circumstances are altered in any way
- Signing a prenuptial agreement may require a change in lifestyle
- Prenuptial agreements are subjected to a judge’s decision and thus there may be protracted litigation, at the beginning of a divorce case, just to determine whether the prenuptial agreement is enforceable.
Finally, one of the hallmarks of a truly successful long-term relationship is the ability to calmly and openly discuss financial issues and other difficult topics. A prenuptial agreement is a conversation like any other. One party may wish to consider this premarital option. Both should be open to discuss and carefully consider the concerns and issues of their soon-to-be spouse and be open to a discussion regarding the pros and cons of signing a prenuptial agreement.