Prenup: Romance Killer or Responsible Legal Tool

When your partner suggests a prenuptial agreement, you might feel like they are saying “I have doubts about your true agenda as well as our ability to make this marriage work for the long haul”.   Because a prenuptial agreement only becomes valid during a divorce, broaching the subject can feel like a romance killer for the newly engaged couple.

 

But prenuptial agreements do not have to be romance killers.  Couples who are pragmatic about finances tend to have the most long lasting marriages!  Unfortunately, the harsh reality is that over half of marriages end in divorce.  Divorce can be stressful, exhausting and expensive.  A prenuptial agreement is a legal agreement that defines the nature and scope of each spouse’s assets, anticipated assets and marital property in the case of a divorce.  A prenuptial agreement can make the division of marital property much smoother during divorce proceedings.

A prenuptial agreement has the reputation of being utilized by very wealthy men with trophy housewives.  That reputation is changing.  We live in a world where men are stay-at-home dads, women are corporate executives, divorces and second marriages are common, same sex marriage is legal and people are entering into marriages with monumental student loan debt.  Nowadays modern marriages are just as much about a romantic union as they are a financial union.  Prenuptial agreements help ensure the financial well-being of a modern marriage as well as make divorce less stressful.

Prenuptial agreements define the division of marital property in the case of a divorce.  Marital property can be tangible and intangible assets as well as debts.

  • If your spouse pursues secondary education and acquires debt, a prenuptial agreement can define that debt as individual debt.
  • If you plan on giving up your career to be a stay-at-home mom or dad, then a prenuptial agreement can compensate you for sacrificing years of work experience.
  • If during the marriage you have started your own business and it has become very profitable, a prenuptial agreement can limit a former spouse’s financial interest or control of the business.
  • If you have children from a first marriage, a prenuptial agreement can help protect their inheritance rights.

One of their main drawbacks is that you cannot predict the future.  Circumstances may change and what seemed like a fair division of marital property when the prenuptial agreement was signed could turn out to be a huge burden.  Another disadvantage to prenuptial agreements is that they are usually created during an engagement.   At this time it is hard for couples to imagine the marriage ever ending. This often results in one or both partners being very lenient in the prenuptial agreement terms and not looking after their best interest.

About Maryland Family and Real Estate Law
General information and commentary on child custody, support, divorce, separation, visitation, real estate, landlord/tenant and loss mitigation

One Response to Prenup: Romance Killer or Responsible Legal Tool

  1. Pingback: Diana Rajchel » The Answer to Divorce Prevention

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