Some people think that it is crass to request a prenuptial agreement, but that attitude is no longer the predominant one. Many people now view prenuptial agreements as a common-sense form of protection. After all, a significant percentage of marriages have consistently ended in divorce for many decades running.
Additionally, prenuptial agreements can be very valuable tools for those preparing for marriage, and there are numerous ways in which negotiating a prenuptial agreement can benefit both partners preparing for this life transition.
1. They can separate their finances
It is common for people to make specific financial arrangements in prenuptial agreements. They will have to make full disclosure of their assets and debts to one another and then discuss how they will maintain certain property separately. This process can help set a couple up for financial independence despite cohabitating, which will lead to a very straightforward divorce if one were to occur.
2. They can compensate a stay-at-home parent
A prenuptial agreement can include certain protections for a parent who leaves the workforce during pregnancy or while raising the family’s children. Proactively offering certain property division concessions or spousal support arrangements based on how long someone stays out of the workforce is a common strategy for protecting one spouse from economic setbacks related to having children.
3. They can set reasonable expectations
Some people start considering marriage with a very unrealistic idea of what will happen in the future. The process of negotiating a prenuptial agreement will involve discussing expectations for what each spouse will contribute to the marriage and what kind of future they will have together. Discussing expectations can help ensure that couples truly share the same values and may actually help establish a stronger foundation for the marital relationship.
4. They worry about misconduct
It is possible to love someone while also recognizing that they have a pattern of potentially consequential behavior, such as alcoholism or compulsive shopping issues. Prenuptial agreements can be a place to address specific kinds of special misconduct and to protect one spouse from the actions of the other. It is even possible in some cases to assign a financial penalty to certain kinds of misconduct in a prenuptial agreement.
Typically, a carefully considered prenuptial agreement will minimize the risks for both spouses and offer them equal protection. Drafting a prenuptial agreement can strengthen a marital relationship and also reduce the likelihood of a messy divorce if things sour between the spouses.