Many Americans hold unfavorable views toward prenuptial contracts, mostly due to misconceptions that continue to circulate regarding the purpose and function of these agreements. It’s common for people to believe that the suggestion of a prenuptial contract is a sign of a lack of faith that a marriage will last. The reality is that a prenuptial contract is a practical option for any marrying couple who wishes to have greater financial security in their marriage.
While it’s true that a prenuptial contract can include a postnuptial agreement that acts as a blueprint for a future divorce, the suggestion to sign a prenuptial contract does not necessarily indicate a lack of faith that a marriage will last, and there are several benefits to signing a properly constructed prenuptial agreement.
Creating a Prenuptial Agreement Fosters Good Communication Between Spouses
One of the most often overlooked benefits of prenuptial agreements is the fact that they inherently encourage marrying spouses to have difficult discussions regarding complex financial matters early in their relationship. Discussing these things before marrying allows both spouses to make their needs, goals, and expectations for the marriage clear. Many couples actually report that despite their initial reservations about creating their prenuptial contracts, the actual process of creating one brought them closer together by encouraging honest communication.
Prenuptial agreements serve to provide financial security to marrying spouses. For example, if one spouse enters the marriage with a significant amount of debt, their prenuptial agreement could include provisions that state that spouse remains solely responsible for their debt in the event the couple divorces. Prenuptial agreements can also outline each of the spouse’s individual financial responsibilities during their marriage. The marrying couple must discuss these elements of the contract, thus compelling them to have open conversations about their financial concerns.
Prenuptial Contracts Provide Financial Protection
Many Americans assume that the only people who really need prenuptial contracts are the very wealthy, but this isn’t necessarily true. While wealthy individuals may have a greater need to protect their finances with prenuptial agreements, these contracts can provide financial security to any couple. Your prenuptial agreement should include provisions for both you and your spouse’s financial concerns, such as debt responsibility, payment of household expenses during your marriage, and separate property ownership rights. Even if you have limited assets when you marry, you both could experience success in the future, and you can adjust your prenuptial contract as necessary to accurately reflect changes in your financial circumstances.
One of the most important benefits of prenuptial contracts for many people is the protection of separate property and family heirlooms. For example, if you own a piece of jewelry, artwork, or a family heirloom, your prenuptial contract could stipulate that this item remains your separate property if you and your spouse later decide to end your marriage.
A Prenup Can Streamline a Future Divorce
While many people may not like to enter a marriage considering the possibility it might end one day in the future, the reality is that divorce has never been more common in American history. Despite the fact that you and your spouse-to-be may be incredibly in love, the reality is that life is unpredictable; the two of you could encounter issues later in your marriage that prompt divorce proceedings.
Divorce is often a messy and emotionally stressful process, but a properly configured prenuptial contract can make the experience much easier for both of you. When you draft your prenuptial agreement to include a postnuptial clause, this element of your agreement functions as a blueprint for your divorce. If your contract is detailed enough, your divorce may boil down to nothing more than a close review of your prenuptial contract, using the terms and conditions therein to settle various aspects of your divorce with minimal expense and time investment.
How Do I Create a Prenuptial Agreement?
You can probably find many “free” tools and affordable software programs online that offer users an easy way to create their own prenuptial agreements and other contracts, but these should only be used to craft a preliminary framework for your prenuptial agreement. You and your spouse-to-be can discuss the terms you both wish to include in your prenuptial agreement and use these tools to create a rough draft, but you should have an experienced Topeka, KS family law attorney assist you in drafting the formal prenuptial agreement.
It is important to note that you should expect to periodically revisit your prenuptial contract over the years of your marriage. You and your spouse are likely to experience many significant life events, most of which will materially affect the existing terms of your prenuptial agreement. Your Topeka, KS family law attorney can not only assist you in creating the first iteration of your prenuptial agreement but also assist you in modifying it in the future as your circumstances change.
Important Tips to Remember
If you plan to draft a prenuptial agreement for your marriage, it’s vital to remember that the elements contained in your contract must align with Kansas state law. For example, if your prenuptial contract includes a postnuptial clause pertaining to property division, it must take the state’s equitable distribution law into account. Your prenuptial agreement also may not contain any unreasonable, illegal, or unconscionable terms. Working with an experienced attorney to draft your prenup is the best way to ensure it meets all applicable legal criteria.
Your attorney can also ensure your prenuptial contract covers everything you need it to cover while remaining flexible enough to account for unpredictable changes to your life in the future. An experienced attorney will also verify that both signing parties are competent and capable of signing a legally binding contract with fully informed consent.
Find an Experienced Topeka, KS Family Law Attorney
While it’s natural to have some reservations about suggesting a prenuptial contract to your spouse-to-be, doing so is a practical and perfectly reasonable option for many people. Whatever your financial concerns may be, working with the right attorney to draft your prenup is the best way to ensure it is legally enforceable and functional in the manner you intend it to be. Contact an experienced Topeka, KS family law attorney for help in drafting your prenuptial agreement.