Prenuptial agreements establish property and financial rights of spouse should the marriage end in divorce. Drafting documents is perhaps the least romantic aspect of getting married. While wedding preparations should revolve around planning the event, equally proactive legal steps are important as well.
A prenup does not mean that a divorce is inevitable. Do not think of it as anticipating the marriage ending. Consider it insurance in case something goes wrong. While the partnership is strong now, you never know what the future will hold.
Simply stated, you need to be prepared for any possible outcome.
The benefits of a prenuptial agreement are numerous and include:
- Protecting the separate assets you own prior to your marriage
- Determining marital or community property
- Preventing responsibility for debt you did not accumulate
- Providing solutions to problems before they arise
- Reducing some of the stress that comes with divorce by having an agreement in place
- Circumventing the often lengthy process of divorce mediation or litigation
With benefits come certain drawbacks. Confronting these issues can create stress and bad feelings in a new relationship. In those situations where waiting is better, a post-nuptial agreement can address similar issues in the future.
In addition, prenuptial agreements do not address child custody, visitation or support-related issues. However, by eliminating those types of disputes, you and your spouse can focus on asset-related issues and move the divorce process along faster.
While “do-it-yourself” options exist, the best prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is one customized for you by an experienced divorce attorney.