The stigma around prenuptial agreements has decreased substantially in the last few decades. People once judged those who proposed signing such documents when they got engaged, but that has changed. Most people now recognize prenuptial agreements as valuable to many people about to get married, especially those with special personal property or a successful career.
Rather than judging someone’s commitment to a marriage, those who hear about someone signing a prenuptial agreement will probably assume that their situation fits into one of the three scenarios below.
- They want to start a blended family
When someone has previously divorced, their risk of divorcing again is higher, which may make advance planning for that possibility a wise choice. Even if someone loses a spouse to death rather than divorce, marrying someone who is not the parent of their children raises some unique concerns.
Their spouse would have certain inheritance rights that could deprive their children of assets. A prenuptial agreement helps clarify the inheritance rights of a spouse and what property is the separate property of either spouse.
They own a business or a house
When someone already has very valuable property in their name, they may not want to risk losing that property to their spouse if they divorce. A prenuptial agreement allows someone with resources that they don’t want to split with their spouse in the event of a divorce to clearly protect that property from claims of commingling and vulnerability during property division proceedings in a litigated divorce.
They anticipate a sizable inheritance
Technically, even if someone inherits property while married, those inherited assets are typically separate property. Of course, the way that someone handles their inheritance can make it vulnerable in a divorce.
Whether one spouse has already inherited sizable resources from their parents or stands to inherit noteworthy resources in the future, they may require the protection prenuptial agreement to ensure their inheritance is never at risk. The strongest prenuptial agreements create protections for both spouses and focus primarily on practical concerns rather than on personal preferences, like someone’s weight during the marriage.
Signing a prenuptial agreement can be a very smart move when you have people or property you want to protect as you embark on a new marital relationship.