Pre Marital Agreements: What Are They and Should You Get One?

You know you want to marry your partner. Their laugh, their spirit, the cute way they crinkle their nose when they look at you. But are you REALLY ready to walk down the aisle?

There are a ton of different things that you need to do to prepare for the wedding. Invite your friends, plan the event. But you also need to take care of a few legal matters.

You need to decide if you want to think about premarital agreements.

Here’s what they are.

Understanding PreMarital Agreements

A premarital agreement also referred to as a prenuptial agreement (prenup), is a contract between two people who plan to marry. The document stipulates who gets what in the case of divorce.

If you or your partner is entering the marriage with assets, your premarital contract can make it easier to separate. The contract is designed to shield the interests of both parties.

Who Needs a Prenup

In pop culture, prenups are for the filthy rich. The millionaire can marry the office worker without worrying about losing half of their assets.

However, the wealthy aren’t the only ones who benefit. There are reasons why middle-class couples should consider inking an agreement as well. These include:

  • Separating debts
  • Minimizing potential problems in case of divorce
  • Determine financial rights and obligations

What You Need to Know

You should negotiate the contract with your lawyer. Courts take the contract very seriously. Prenups are legal in every state.

Here are a few things you should know:

  • The agreement needs to be fair for everyone involved.
  • You have to disclose all of your assets.
  • Each spouse needs their own lawyer.

If you don’t want to work with a lawyer, make sure you research exactly how to prepare the document. It needs to be written clearly to be deemed legally sound.

Drafting your own agreement can also help if you plan on seeking professional counsel. It can save you money and time.

According to a family lawyers law office: “With a more solid understanding of the legal principles behind your case… you (have) the knowledge necessary to obtain a resolution to your legal matter…”

What If You Don’t Make a Premarital Agreement?

What happens if you don’t make a premarital agreement? You’re at the mercy of your state laws. When you get married, each spouse is imbued with certain rights.

In some cases, even assets and property that you owned before the marriage could possibly be up for grabs. You may have to split all of your assets.

They’re certainly less popular but a postnuptial agreement is also an option.

Value of Premarital Agreements & Additional Reading

Strong, well-crafted premarital agreements protect you and your spouse from disaster. When you’re looking at each other with gooey, loved-filled eyes, you can’t imagine ever wanting to separate. However, the reality is that people change.

If your marriage remains strong, your premarital agreement will never come into play. You only have to think about it if trouble brews.

For more on this topic consider reading dinksfinance.com.  They have an excellent series of articles on couples finance.   Other good sources for information on prenups might be David Bach’s Smart Couples Finish Rich.

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