3 issues that couples often address in prenuptial agreements

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2024 | Family Law |

People used to take offense at the idea of drafting a prenuptial agreement. Many people worried that the suggestion to sign a prenuptial agreement indicated their fiancé was not fully committed to the relationship. Others viewed the request as a comment on their personal ethics.

However, attitudes about prenuptial agreements have changed substantially over the years. With more couples starting dual-income families and more marriages ending in divorce, people have become more accepting of the idea of having a marital contract.

People who negotiate prenuptial agreements may actually strengthen their marriages by answering questions about spousal expectations and taking fear out of the idea of divorce.

Protection from certain liabilities

Maybe one spouse is almost done with their education. However, they already have tens of thousands of dollars in student loans and need to take on more. Perhaps they enter the marriage with substantial credit card balances or medical debts. Spouses sometimes specifically include terms in prenuptial agreements that protect them from liability for a spouse’s debts. That way, they don’t have to worry about assuming financial responsibility for someone else’s obligations if they ever divorce.

Clear expectations for property division

Another issue spouses frequently address in prenuptial agreements is how they intend to divide marital property should they ever divorce. While state statutes help guide the courts, much is left to the interpretation of the judge. Spouses can waste many weeks fighting over property division matters during a divorce. The decision to address how they split marital resources if the marriage ends can eliminate one of the most common sources of divorce conflict.

Terms clarifying separate property

Some people enter marriages with pre-existing resources. They may have a retirement account or a home that they don’t want to divide if they ever divorce. Prenuptial agreements allow people an opportunity to earmark certain assets as their separate property. Doing so keeps those particular assets out of the pool of marital property should the couple ever divorce. The risk of commingling during the marriage means that assets that could be separate property could also be at risk of division in some cases.

The decision to draft a prenuptial agreement can potentially improve a relationship and protect people financially. Talking about a marital agreement with a fiancé could prove beneficial for both parties in the future.