Prenuptial agreements, also referred to as antenuptial agreements, are often viewed in a negative manner and are thought to be “planning for failure” or “admitting that the marriage will end in divorce.” While it’s true that half of all marriages end in divorce, if done correctly, a prenuptial agreement can actually strengthen a relationship because it causes the couple to disclose information to each other and discuss financial issues before they become an issue or problem.
Many people enter into a marriage without having any knowledge of the financial condition of their partner. Entering into a prenuptial agreement, or at the very least discussing the possibility of a prenuptial agreement, requires both sides in a relationship to disclose financial information. Finances are a common issue people either do not discuss, or worse, intentionally ignore, and ultimately one of the top reasons why couples end up divorced. A well drafted prenuptial agreement can simplify a stressful situation in the future and prevent a long, costly legal battle. On the other hand, it can also strengthen a relationship by discussing ahead of time what your financial obligations during a marriage or in a divorce will be… taking out the unknown of the future.
A common misconception is that prenuptial agreements are only for wealthy couples, or when one person has substantially more assets than the other in the relationship. While it is true that we strongly encourage our clients who, for example, own their own business or have high incomes or the potential to earn a high income, to enter into prenuptial agreements, there is no harm in the “average” couple having a prenuptial agreement as well. Prenuptial agreements are not able to address concerns such as custody or visitation with current or future children, but they can address ownership of real and personal property, allocation of debt from before the marriage, and/or financial responsibilities during the marriage. These are things that all couples have, no matter how much or how little.
Discussing finances, including income(s), debt, and assets, before a couple enters into a marriage can help alleviate concerns that one person may have, and also aids in establishing expectations for both people. This “crash course” in communication (prior to walking down the aisle) over something potentially stressful, can hopefully reduce any tension over money during the marriage.
Entering into a prenuptial agreement is better thought of as planning for success during a marriage and should not be considered “planning for failure.” If you are ready to take those steps to plan for your future, please contact the attorneys at Thomas Law Group for assistance.