4 Reasons You Should Have a Prenuptial Agreement

4 Reasons You Should Have a Prenuptial Agreement

4 Reasons You Should Have a Prenuptial Agreement

Some couples resist discussing a prenuptial agreement because they think having one means they don’t trust each other. But the reverse is true: a prenuptial agreement demonstrates that you are committed to honoring each other’s past, future, and autonomy. Before we get into four reasons you should have a prenuptial agreement, here’s a quick review of what a prenuptial agreement is, what it can do, and what it can’t do.

A Binding Contract

A prenuptial agreement is an enforceable contract between partners who intend to marry. It governs things like how you will maintain your finances, personal property, and heirlooms, as well as your responsibility for debt and the financial rights of children from previous marriages.

Prenuptial agreements are intended to define how property, debt, and possessions will be divided in the event of a divorce. They can’t regulate a person’s behavior during the marriage or define child custody or spousal support arrangements—that’s for the court to approve during divorce proceedings.

However, there are several things, primarily relating to finances and personal property, you can resolve in a prenuptial agreement, avoiding a costly court battle should your relationship end.

So, why prepare a prenuptial agreement?

You Own A Business

When you’ve worked hard to found and grow a business, you don’t want to see it broken up or sold off as part of a divorce settlement. Even if you and your partner started the business together, a prenuptial agreement is useful to define what happens to the business and both your roles in it should you break up.

You’ve Been Married Before

If you’re getting remarried, many of your obligations from your prior divorce come with you into the new marriage. A prenuptial agreement protects you and your spouse from disputes about what you owe children from a previous marriage or an ex-spouse and protects children’s financial interests. If you should divorce, a professionally written prenuptial agreement will prevent your spouse from claiming assets that should go to support your children from a prior marriage.

Defining Separate Property

Many states regard property, including money, you obtained during a marriage as “community property” and will divide it between spouses upon divorce. Inheritances are usually exempt from division, but if you don’t want Grandma’s rocker or Uncle Bill’s prize tooled leather saddle to end up in your ex’s garage, you can specify which property is exclusively yours in a prenuptial agreement.

A prenuptial agreement also lets you spell out exactly how much of your money, from which sources, belongs exclusively to you and will continue to belong to you if you divorce.

Protects You From Your Spouse’s Debts

An all too common horror story in divorce is discovering that your spouse has run up huge debts on a joint credit account. You’ll be equally responsible for those debts unless you define in a prenuptial agreement that your debts will be separate, and you keep them that way during your marriage.

Perhaps the best reason to have a prenuptial agreement is that it gives you peace of mind that your assets are protected and that you and your putative spouse agree on how you’ll manage your finances and property should you ever split.

If you’re preparing to marry, it’s a good idea to consult with a family law attorney about a prenuptial agreement. At LaCoste Family Law, we help people in the tri-city area of Washington state with prenuptial agreements. We also handle divorce issues when you may need an experienced spousal support attorney or child custody specialist.