If you are newly engaged or considering marriage sometime in the future, you may want to consider a prenuptial agreement.
We get that it’s not the most romantic gesture to follow “Will you marry me?” with “Who gets what in the divorce?”− but it’s a common misconception that prenuptial agreements are only important in the event of a divorce.
Financial disagreements are a leading cause of divorce these days. No one wants to think about the possibility of getting a divorce, but many couples start their marriages with debt, unrealistic expectations, and without asking some hard, but important, questions. Creating a prenuptial agreement requires a couple to think critically about the future and how finances will be handled, which could actually go a long way in helping the marriage last.
“The number one issue couples fight about is also a topic many couples avoid discussing — money. According to a new survey by Ramsey Solutions, money fights are the second leading cause of divorce, behind infidelity. Results show that both high levels of debt and a lack of communication are major causes for the stress and anxiety surrounding household finances,” states a press release by DaveRamsey.com.
Here are three important questions to consider when discussing a prenuptial agreement:
- What are the expectations for handling finances while we’re married?
- What is the plan for finances if one of us passes away while we’re married?
- Is there anything we need to prepare now in case we were to ever get a divorce?
It’s likely that you and your partner have discussed your ideas, dreams and goals for the future, but have you considered what financial steps will need to be taken to get there? Some things to talk about are:
- Are we savers, spenders or one of each?
- How will we handle bank accounts and credit cards?
- How will we handle premarital assets and debt?
- Will either of us be going back to school or staying home with children?
- Will one person take primary responsibility for the finances or will we do it together?
- How will we communicate about money?
While you’re engaged probably the only thing worse than considering divorce is thinking about what would happen if one of you were to pass away unexpectedly. Planning for the worst now can alleviate a significant amount of stress, frustration and confusion down the road. As difficult as it may be, here are some good questions to consider:
- Do we need to create or update an estate plan, trust or will?
- Do we need life insurance policies?
- How will retirement accounts and investments be handled?
A prenuptial agreement is not only for the wealthy and famous, and it is becoming much more commonplace for couples to sign them. It doesn’t mean that your fiancé doesn’t trust you or expect to have a long happy marriage, but rather wants to be reasonably prepared for the future. Unfortunately, sometimes divorce can be messy and people can be blindsided, so having a prenuptial agreement in place can protect both you and your spouse. You may want to consider signing a prenuptial agreement if any of the following apply to you prior to your marriage:
- You own a home or other real estate
- You have stocks, retirement accounts or other investments
- You have children from a previous marriage
- You have significantly more money and assets than your fiancé
- You will be financially supporting your family while your soon-to-be-spouse continues their education
- You are relocating to live with your future spouse
“A premarital agreement can be a great tool to allow a couple to come together, have a realistic conversation about their financial future, and plan accordingly. The situation provides engaged couples with a chance to figure out how life is going to be after the honeymoon is over. Participating in such an exercise can go a long way towards creating an atmosphere of open communication regarding issues that often lead to the demise of a relationship or marriage,” says Matthew Smurda, Esq. for divorcemagazine.com.
As you can see, a prenuptial agreement doesn’t have to be a negative experience, nor does it assume a divorce is imminent. A family law attorney can help you understand and create a prenuptial agreement that secures a well thought out plan for your future. The Alabama Law Group would love the opportunity to help you plan and be prepared for your future. We want to make it a positive experience for you and your future spouse. Contact Charlotte Christian to start the conversation today!