Marriage is a contract. It is a binding agreement between parties, with legally obligating terms. Whether we explicitly acknowledge that fact or not, the fact remains. A prenuptial agreement is the surest way to protect yourself and your family from unnecessary future hardship.
A prenuptial agreement is not a forecast for failure. Rather, in today's world, it should be viewed as a part of the matrimony process – as necessary as the ceremony and with a potentially more lasting impact. Prenupts are important for all involved, providing protection and benefits in many different ways, especially for blended families.
Here are four reasons why you should consider a prenuptial agreement before saying "I do."
Reduce Stress and Conflict
Divorce is one of the most stressful, emotional, and complicated time in anyone's life. A prenuptial agreement can help reduce the burden and tension associated with divorce negotiations. It may not be able to cover every aspect of your divorce, but a well-documented prenuptial agreement will address major assets and act as a guide for a smooth transition.
A good prenuptial agreement lays everything out, so both parties have realistic expectations going in, and there are fewer surprises in a divorce trial. With less to argue about, there is no need to go into a long, drawn-out divorce case that lasts for months and costs you dearly in legal fees – not to mention time.
Protect the Future of Your Children
A prenuptial agreement will help ensure the money you are allocating for your children's future – such as college funds – will go to your children and not your spouse, or your spouse's future children. Many households today have children from current and previous marriages. You will want to protect your children's future in these complicated cases.
Keep Your Property from Being Court Distributed
If you do not have a prenuptial agreement, and there are properties and assets to divide (and disagreements over how the division should unfold), the court will become the decider in the divorce. When you have a prenuptial agreement, you don't have to worry about who will get what, as you've already stipulated the terms.
There are many reasons couples consider prenuptial agreements before getting married. As Anne Russell discusses in her feature in the Nashville Business Journal, the most common reason for prenuptial agreements is to alleviate causes of family disputes, contentions about property, and especially allowances to the wife (or husband), should the marriage end.
It is important to remember that prenuptial agreements are not a prediction for failure, but a safety net to serve as a safe harbor in case of difficult times.