The time between engagement and marriage can be a whirlwind of emotions. You are eagerly anticipating your wedding day when you get to say “I, do,” to your beloved. In fact, you may be so swept up in the romance that you forget about the practical aspects of marriage.
It is for this reason that executing a prenuptial agreement prior to marriage is so important. You want to protect your interests both while married and in the event of divorce. Prenups do not have to imply that you are not committed to your marriage. They are simply a way to ensure that not only your rights, but the rights of your spouse are protected should the marriage not last.
The contractual aspect of a prenup
A prenup, in essence, is a contract between two people regarding the financial aspects of marriage and divorce. In a prenup, you can identify which of your current and future assets are meant to be marital property and which of your current and future assets are meant to be separate property both during the marriage and if you divorce. A prenup can also contain provisions regarding alimony, also known as spousal support. For example, if you or your spouse expect to incur a significant income while married, the support of your spouse should you divorce can be included in your prenup. Similarly, if you or your spouse have or expect to have significant debt a prenup can dictate who will be responsible for that debt in the event of a divorce.
Considerations to keep in mind if you decide a prenup is right for you
If you decide a prenup is right for you there are a couple of tips to ensuring the process of executing the prenup runs smoothly. First, start early. Not only does this give you and your partner time to contemplate all your rights and options, but a prenup that is rushed into may be deemed unenforceable, especially if it is signed within days of your marriage date. In addition, be fair. A prenup that is too lopsided may ultimately be deemed unfair and unenforceable should you divorce. Finally, seek legal advice. Both you and your spouse should have independent legal counsel. This ensures that you both have a full understanding of your rights and options so you can make decisions that are in your best interests.
Does a prenup mean your marriage is loveless?
Ultimately, a prenup does not have to mean there is no love in your marriage. It is practical and ultimately a written declaration that you respect your spouse and want your marriage to be fair as well as your divorce should it come to that.