Marrying the person you love is a joyous prospect. Couples preparing to marry do so with the anticipation of remaining together forever—divorce being the last thing on their minds. On the other hand, some relationships approach marriage more cautiously by first signing a prenuptial agreement, or “prenup.” Let’s find out why discussing the end of a marriage before it begins is sensible, and what matters should be addressed in a prenup agreement.
Despite its stigma, a prenuptial agreement is a wise planning tool for any relationship, not just for the wealthy. Anyone getting married, regardless of financial status, can benefit from the pre-established expectations for both partners going into the marriage, which a prenup outlines. Those critical of the prenup might feel that it’s about greed or a lack of commitment. In reality, the document serves to avoid future conflict from arising. It is a proactive agreement between couples who want to have solutions in place for issues they hopefully never have.
Who Gets Prenuptial Agreements?
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to who should initiate the conversation about a prenup. If one partner has more assets than the other, it might be more important for them to protect what they bring into the marriage. In the event both partners have significant assets, it might be more of a level playing field. Ultimately, it is a personal decision that the couple should make together, then seek the services of a family law attorney for further input.
What to Include in a Prenup
There are a few key things that should be included in a prenup agreement:
- Division of assets: This includes anything acquired during the marriage, such as property, savings, investments, and retirement accounts.
- Debt: Any debt incurred during the marriage, such as student loans or credit card debt, should be taken into consideration.
- Spousal support: Also known as alimony, this is financial support one partner may have to pay to the other after a divorce.
- Child support: If the couple has children, child support should be included in the prenup.
- Signing bonus: If either partner is receiving a signing bonus from their employer, this should be addressed in the prenup agreement.
- Intellectual property: This includes anything created during the marriage, such as a patent, trademark, copyright, or royalties.
- Business interests: If either partner has an ownership stake in a business, this should be included in the prenup agreement.
The list of matters that could give rise to conflict is vast. But when two people can negotiate these concerns collaboratively upfront, they create a solid foundation of transparent expectations for the course of their union, as well as pave a smooth transition out of the relationship in case it doesn’t work out. If you have any assets that are important to you, it’s possible that a prenup could be an essential part of you and your partner’s new life together.
Meghan Belnap is a freelance writer who enjoys spending time with her family. She loves being in the outdoors and exploring new opportunities whenever they arise. Meghan finds happiness in researching new topics that help to expand her horizons. You can often find her buried in a good book or out looking for an adventure. You can connect with her on Facebook right here and Twitter right here.