Prenuptial agreements are effectively marriage contracts setting specific terms for a couple’s relationship. Such agreements are often of immense value if a couple decides to divorce. All of the uncertainty and contention typically found in a divorce will be a non-issue when a couple has a prenuptial agreement thoroughly outlining how they will share their property and what assets are not subject to division.
As with any deeply personal family law matter, there are unique reasons that every couple considering a prenuptial agreement wants to have a contract. However, there are three reasons couples often mention when drafting a prenuptial agreement.
1. Starting a blended family
Anyone who has been through a divorce before and wants to try getting married again probably would prefer to avoid the bitter fighting that occurred in their first marital dissolution. By making everything clear from the beginning, the parents put the whole family up for an easier transition.
When those who already have children from previous relationships marry, a prenuptial agreement is a common decision as it removes the risk from property division matters and can clarify the rights of the stepparents regarding the relationships that they have with the children.
2. Expecting an inheritance
Technically, inherited property and gifts are usually separate assets that are not part of the marital estate. However, it is very common for spouses to develop a sense of entitlement about inherited assets, especially after a particularly lengthy marriage. There is also the risk of commingling putting an inheritance at risk in divorce proceedings.
Those who expect to receive a substantial inheritance in the future can draft a prenuptial agreement designating it as separate property.
Starting a business or professional practice
There’s a lot of risk and investment involved in the early stages of entrepreneurship. There will also be a lot of value in the business or professional practice itself once it becomes solvent.
Those who anticipate starting a business during the marriage may want to include certain rules that would protect their spouse from risk during the marriage and protect the business in the event of a divorce.
Recognizing the value of a prenuptial agreement can help set both spouses up for a successful marriage and less stressful divorce, should one ever occur.