Nobody enters into a marriage with the notion that their union with their dearly beloved could someday come to an unhappy end. As a rule, couples who are brightly in love generally tend to have stars in their eyes and don’t even consider the idea that the affection and adoration of their mate could come to a sad and bitter demise. All too often, however, that is exactly the way that things unfold. That’s why some modern couples elect to hire a family law lawyer to put together a “prenuptial agreement” that serves to protect the partner with the most assets, if and when wedded bliss fails to thrive.
Who needs a prenuptial agreement
In the 21st century, prenuptial agreements, also known as “prenups,” are not just for the rich and famous. Yes, celebrity couples may be best known for arranging prenups prior to a fabulous Hollywood wedding, but the truth of the matter is, prenuptial agreements are for anyone who has an inventory of assets that they wish to hold onto if and when they divorce. A prenup assures both parties that they will indeed retain their personal assets, no matter what happens to the marriage. Considering that more than half of all marriages end in divorce, prenups are a smart way to go.
Bankrate magazine explains that although a prenuptial agreement can and will protect a spouse from losing all their worldly goods to a vindictive ex, child support and visitation rights are never included in a prenuptial agreement. For this reason, a prenup is a smart idea for any couple in which one spouse intends to pause their career or quit work completely to raise a family.
Why is a prenup important?
There are a number of reasons a couple might sign a prenuptial agreement prior to their wedding. If one spouse is significantly wealthier than the other, a prenup may be wise. This may sound as if it protects only the wealthier partner, when in truth, a prenup may ensure that the poorer partner is equally as protected in the event of a divorce. Such agreements are often drafted and signed by couples who have no intention to formally marry but still wish to protect their assets throughout the duration of a civil union, as well.
One partner who earns a great deal more income than the other may find comfort in knowing that a prenup may spare them from paying exorbitant alimony, if and when the marriage concludes unhappily. Likewise if one or both spouses happen to be marrying for a second or third time. Remarriage that involves children from prior unions can be quite complicated, especially if such a marriage winds up in divorce court. A signed and notarized prenuptial agreement ensures that in case one spouse dies, their worldly assets are distributed precisely the way they want, no matter what the bereaved spouse’s first family says or does. A well-executed prenuptial agreement ensures that family heirlooms, real estate and other property are passed down to proper hands. Nobody likes to think about what might happen when they pass away, but it’s an important adult decision to make. Without a prenup in place, the laws of the state in which you reside may take precedent over your wishes, causing turmoil and tension to your survivors.
Prenups in history
Historically, pre-wedding contracts are nothing new. In fact, The Atlanta Black Star explains that prenuptial agreements have been in use for thousands of years. Before-the-marriage pacts have been used to ensure property rights for eons, and the ancient Hebrew wedding contract, known as the ketubah, made it very costly for a man to divorce his wife. An affordable divorce lawyer might have ensured much the same thing. The ketubah may have had a lot to do with the success of some of the longest marriages in ancient history. Prenups are not allowed in all countries, however. Currently, the United States, Australia, Canada, Wales and South Africa are among the nations where prenuptial agreements are commonly used. Thailand, India and some eastern European nations also allow for certain sorts of legal and binding prenuptial agreements.
If you’re thinking about getting married, and you wish to protect the property that you currently own, speak with an experienced attorney about how to write up a proper prenup. Doing so doesn’t mean that you love your partner any less. The prenup you both sign may well serve to create trust and harmonious financial strength in your marriage.
Caitlin Clark writes about a wide range of relationship issues that face couples today. She is a relationship therapist who heals wounds and smooths the path for true love to flourish.