Despite the myths surrounding them, prenuptial agreements are increasingly regarded as practical choices by more couples. Prenups determine property and financial rights for spouses if their marriage ends in divorce.
Instead of being a precursor to the end of a relationship, many couples see them in the same light as estate planning, i.e., preparing for the unknown. No one in love wants to think about their relationship ending, but many gain peace of mind knowing how assets and debts will be distributed if that happens.
Prenups benefit couples of all income levels
A popular myth regarding prenuptial agreements is that they are only for the ultra-wealthy. While rich people use them often, those without million-dollar portfolios can also benefit. Here are a few things to consider:
- Clarity: Whether you and your partner come into the marriage with considerable or few assets, the document specifies how to divide marital property.
- Debts: Some partners come into a marriage with more debt, such as student loans. A prenup establishes whether those debts remain separate.
- Heirlooms: If you receive an inheritance or other beloved family property from your side of the family, a prenup can keep it from being divided.
- Kids: You can protect the financial interests of children from a prior marriage.
- Businesses: Prenups can protect spouses not involved in a business venture from debts. Plus, they can ensure that those operating companies keep ownership rights.
- Stress: Prenups help both parties avoid the cost and anxiety associated with a long, drawn-out, bitterly contested divorce.
Couples can also draft these agreements after saying, “I do.” These are called postnuptial agreements.
Drafting a valid prenup
Pennsylvania and other states have strict rules for drafting prenuptial agreements. They can’t be used to take advantage of someone, and neither party can force the other to sign. Courts often toss out do-it-yourself documents for not following the rules. More and more couples see properly drafted documents as mutually beneficial and feel they strengthen the marriage.