Getting engaged is often one of the most exciting times of your life. You're in the midst of planning one of the most important days you will ever experience. The ‘to-do' list is filled with exciting events: booking your honeymoon, choosing a wedding venue, creating a registry.
But one item on the list may look a little less romantic: getting a prenuptial agreement. How do you know if you need a prenup? This article is geared to explain what a prenuptial agreement is, why couples decide to get one and three signs that a prenuptial agreement may be right for you.
What is a prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a document which lays out the financial terms of the marriage. More specifically, it lays out what will happen in the event the marriage fails. Prenuptial agreements typically identify all of the assets each person owns and specifies what each person's rights will be when the marriage ends, either due to divorce or when one of the spouses die.
Prenups often get a bad rap – as if one spouse does not thing that the marriage is going to last or questions their intended's motives. A prenup is often not the protection or the disproportionate division of assets that people may imagine. To the contrary, getting a prenuptial agreement can be a healthy move for the relationship. A huge benefit of a premarital agreement is the full disclosure and conversation prior to the marriage about what you have going into a relationship and what you expect to share throughout that relationship. A prenup is often not the protection or the disproportionate division of assets that people may imagine.
Prenuptial agreements are on the rise. A recent survey of divorce lawyers showed that 63 percent of divorce lawyers say they've seen a dramatic increase in prenups. Another 44 percent of those attorneys say more women are initiating prenuptial agreements as well.
Why get a prenuptial agreement?
Two common reasons why prenuptial agreements are becoming more popular are that people are getting married later and second marriages are becoming more common. These couples are not only going in ‘eyes open' about marriage, but have also amassed more significant separate assets prior to the marriage that they want to maintain and protect.
Three signs you may need a prenuptial agreement
A prenuptial agreement may be a good idea if any of the following apply to your and your future spouse's situations:
- Either of you have significant assets, like bank accounts, stocks, real estates or businesses.
- If you or your spouse have significant debts or loans in your name
- If you or your future spouse has an obligation for payment of child or spousal support from a prior relationship or marriage.
Under these circumstances, a prenuptial agreement could be the best decision for your future marriage. If you find yourself contemplating marriage and either of these circumstances fits your situation, you should speak with a family law attorney to determine whether a prenuptial agreement may be right for you.
In addition to these three situations, a prenuptial agreement could help clarify some of the following questions about how you and your spouse want to handle money during the marriage. Money is often such a stressful issue in many marriages. Discussing these financial issues beforehand can strengthen your relationship and help you avoid future problems surrounding the handline of money. Some questions that you and your spouse should consider are:
- How do you want to handle assets accumulated together, like a house bought during the marriage?
- Will you have joint bank accounts after the wedding?
- What are each of your views on non-monetary contributions to the marriage, like raising a family or managing the home?
No matter what you decide about a prenup, it is important to go into the marriage with your eyes open. Make sure you and your spouse are as open as possible about your finances and attitudes about money before you tie the knot. If you have additional questions about whether a prenuptial agreement could be right for you, contact us at Atlanta Family Law Group at (404) 963-9452 and we will be happy to help.