If you and your partner are preparing for marriage, it is unlikely you two are thinking you could divorce down the road. You may want to take precautions, though, since between 40 and 50% of marriages end in divorce. While you two might have considered drafting prenuptial agreement to protect yourselves in case, you may find this prospect unromantic. But given your circumstances, there may be reasons that creating an agreement could make sense.
What prenuptial agreements govern
Any prenuptial agreement that you and your partner draft will set forth how you would divide your property and debts – both marital and separate – if you two divorce. Yet, it can also detail how you would handle financial matters during your marriage. If one of you is helping the other through school, or if you two need a plan for how to manage your expenses and assets, your agreement could govern your courses of action.
If you draft a prenuptial agreement, though, its terms cannot put you or your partner at a disadvantage. For instance, it cannot waive any child support payments one of you would otherwise receive. Nor can it set forth any child custody arrangements. If your agreement contains these provisions, or is otherwise unfair, the court will likely invalidate it if you and your partner divorce.
When prenuptial agreements make sense
Drafting a prenuptial agreement may not make sense if neither you nor your partner are entering your marriage with significant assets. Yet, one of you may have a business, real estate or investments that you want to retain ownership of if you divorce. Or, one of you may have substantial student loan debt that you would not want the other to shoulder. Creating an agreement, in these cases, can offer protection against these outcomes.
You and your partner may also want to draft a prenuptial agreement if either of you have children from previous marriages. If they are set to receive inheritances in the future, your agreement will protect these if you and your partner divorce or if one of you dies.
If you and your partner decide a prenuptial agreement makes sense for your circumstances, you must make sure you draft it as far from your wedding as possible. This will give you two time to go over your agreement – with your respective attorneys – and make sure its terms and execution are valid.