For decades, people viewed prenuptial agreements as a way for people to plan for failure during what should be an optimistic time in a relationship. However, prenuptial agreements are no longer just for the wealthy and powerful trying to protect their assets. They have become popular with middle-class couples as well.
Attorneys who draft prenuptial agreements have noted a double-digit increase in the number of documents they’ve drawn up in recent years. Far from being documents that protect one person at the expense of another, a prenuptial agreement is actually a contract between future spouses that can strengthen their marital relationship.
How might signing a prenuptial agreement now set you up for a stronger and more successful marriage?
You have to discuss the big issues
Many couples spend so much time focusing on planning their wedding that they never really plan their married life. They don’t talk about issues like debt, separate property, retirement, children or infidelity ahead of time. They simply hope that they and their spouse will be on their best behavior and that their marriage won’t have any issues, which is not particularly realistic.
A prenuptial agreement requires that you talk about your expectations for the marriage and your long-term plans. It also requires honesty regarding the disclosure of your assets and debts so that you and your spouse know the exact circumstances of one another prior to marriage.
You remove the mystery and romance of divorce
After a few years or decades of uneventful marriage, divorce might seem exciting or adventurous. There is a sense of mystery to the process, as it is difficult, if not impossible, to completely predict how the courts will split your assets.
Some people become so excited by the idea of a divorce-related windfall and a change to their daily lives that they take steps they later regret. A prenuptial agreement requires that you talk about splitting your assets and debts before you even get married, so you will know exactly what to expect in a divorce. That might reduce the allure of filing for some people.
You can protect yourself from your spouse’s behavior
By the time you get engaged to someone, you likely already know their bad habits and worst mistakes. Your prenuptial agreement might include provisions that protect you from your spouse’s gambling debts or that officially make certain assets separate property for you so that they cannot access them during your marriage or a possible future divorce. You can go into the marriage more confident and secure because you’ve taken the right steps to protect yourself.
Drafting a marital agreement before you intertwine your life with your fiance will protect you during marriage and make things easier and more affordable if you ever do decide to divorce.