3 Reasons You Should Have A Premarital Agreement
We all know that trust and commitment should be at the center of a marriage. We also all know that premarital agreements are often looked down upon as nothing more than a cover for a planned divorce. That is simply not true. Prenuptial agreements offer a whole host of benefits to couples looking to spend their lives together, and after being in this business for a combined 200+ years, we find they can actually prevent the likelihood of divorce down the road!
A premarital agreement is a contract that is negotiated before the start of a marriage. The document outlines what happens to that marital property in the event of a divorce or death. Prenups can also address or waive alimony so that if you divorce you don’t end up in Court arguing over monthly support. Both parties have to agree to the terms of the contract. There are a variety of reasons to have a premarital agreement, but we’ll discuss 3 of the main purposes below.
1. To Have Clarity About Your Finances
Financial disagreements are one of the leading causes of divorce, this is backed by volumes of research. When you create a premarital agreement you proactively address potential issues that might create tension and cause conflict in your marriage. Instead of viewing a premarital agreement as something that questions the strength of your relationship, consider the ways in which it can offer clarity and transparency in your partnership with your future spouse.
Additionally, crafting and implementing this type of agreement allows you and your soon-to-be spouse the opportunity to start your marriage off on the right foot by discussing your financial expectations, goals, and boundaries before your big day. This is a really important conversation, and unfortunately we find that many couples going through the divorce process never had it. Finding out well into your marriage that your ideas about money are quite different than your spouse can be a HUGE problem. Starting the conversation before marriage can give you the tools you need to have a more successful marriage.
2. To Protect Your Assets
You had a life before you met your soon-to-be spouse, and you worked hard to accumulate possessions and savings during that time. You bring your individual interests and assets to your partnership! A premarital agreement is a legally binding contract that can offer a sensible approach to protecting your hard-earned assets from being absorbed by your spouse in the event that divorce does take place.
As unromantic as it might sound, it needs to be said: marriage is more than a commitment to your love. It is also a financial and legal relationship. Ask yourself, would you enter into any other financial relationship without a contract and allow the state and/or courts to decide your fate? If the answer is no (which it really should be), we urge you to consider a prenup.
Again, having a prenup doesn’t mean that divorce will definitely occur, but we can’t predict the future, and oftentimes unforeseen circumstances or life events can take a toll on your marriage. In fact, 40% of marriages end in divorce. As dark as it sounds, 100% of marriages end in death. By creating a premarital agreement, you can decide what will become of the assets you not only brought to the marriage, but also the assets acquired throughout in the event of divorce or death. This can eliminate concern for financial security, and provide you and your partner both with peace of mind in the event that your marriage should end.
Another aspect to consider are any debts your partner might be bringing into the marriage. While your student loans and vehicle may be paid off, your future spouses’ might not be. By creating a premarital agreement, you can establish a clear boundary between your partner’s debts and your own.
3. To Protect Any Assets You Predict To Inherit Or Pass On To Children From A Previous Marriage
Another reason you need to have a premarital agreement is to protect any assets you predict to inherit from a family member. A prenup can eliminate the possibility of these assets being subjected to potential disputes during divorce (or in the event of death). If you are the beneficiary or heir of substantial assets, and you and your spouse hit an unexpected rough patch in your relationship, the assets that have been left to you might be in jeopardy during divorce proceedings. A premarital agreement can protect family heirlooms and inheritance from being automatically assumed by a spouse during the divorce process.
Additionally, if you have children from a previous marriage that you want to leave your assets to in the event that you pass away or become incapacitated, a prenuptial agreement can play a vital role in ensuring that your intentions are honored. Without one, a surviving spouse has the right to claim a large portion of the other spouse’s property, which may result in your children not receiving what you’d originally intended for them.
Your Road To A Blissful Marriage Starts With A Prenuptial Agreement
Financial clarity, asset protection for yourself, and asset protection for your children – these are 3 compelling reasons to have a premarital agreement. We believe the main goal of a prenup is to help you build a stronger marriage by addressing potential issues BEFORE you walk down the aisle. By taking this proactive approach, you can establish a solid foundation for a better marriage.
If you are getting married, we highly suggest adding drafting a premarital agreement to your to-do list. Outlining the future of your assets in the event that your marriage doesn’t work out the way that you’d hoped will save you time, money, and energy. Remember, premarital agreements aren’t just for the rich. They are for all couples.
The upfront costs of premarital agreements are significantly less than the costs of a litigated divorce, an estate dispute, or even the most amicable divorces. And we’ve seen firsthand how having a premarital agreement helps you go into a marriage with a little less stress on your shoulders. Stress has a cost, too! A big one.
And one more piece of advice when you are ready to start your prenuptial agreement process: don’t take matters into your own hands.
We cannot stress how important it is to enlist the help of a seasoned prenup attorney who can explain your legal options and help facilitate the process. A premarital agreement is a legally binding contract. Too many people have prenups that either don’t hold up in court or don’t cover all the necessary components because they tried to DIY it. Having a professional assist you in ensuring that the agreement complies with North Carolina law is imperative.
How Triangle Smart Divorce Can Help You
At Triangle Smart Divorce, our experienced team of Cary prenup attorneys are ready to get to know your unique situation so that we can help you create a personalized agreement that protects your interests and allows you and your spouse to begin your marriage with confidence. We understand that matters like these are sensitive and personal, so to take some of the stress out of premarital agreements, we created the Premarital Agreement Q & A. You can download it and get answers to the most common questions we receive about prenups. When you’re ready, call Triangle Smart Divorce today to request a consultation and take the next step.