No longer just for the rich, a prenuptial agreement (sometimes called a “prenup” or a “premarital agreement”) is becoming increasingly common. More couples are understanding that it could be important and helpful to have a financial road map should the marriage come to an end.
Financial challenges have been the undoing of many marriages. Working out a prenup can be an opportunity to discuss important financial matters and develop agreements about them that will help reduce conflict in the marriage. A prenuptial agreement can promote a positive atmosphere of financial fairness for both spouses.
A prenuptial agreement can deal with the property and debts the couple has at the time of marriage or what they will acquire during the marriage – or both. The main purpose of a prenuptial agreement is usually to settle future disputes that a couple might have with respect to:
Considerable care must be taken to ensure that a prenuptial agreement is enforceable.
Of course some people are not comfortable with the idea of a prenup. Some common reasons for avoiding (or not even considering) the subject are:
- It’s viewed as unromantic;
- It would appear to demonstrate a lack of trust;
- Divorce doesn’t seem like a possibility at the time of marriage;
- Many are uncomfortable revealing and talking about financial affairs;
- No desire to initiate a formal process with an attorney.
It’s wise to have an attorney draft the premarital agreement to maximize the likelihood that it will be enforceable. But that doesn’t mean that you necessarily need to work out the terms of the agreement with an attorney. It may well be more palatable and pleasant to work out the agreements on your own or with the help of a skilled mediator.
Working with a mediator might encourage openness and clear communication. It may make it easier to strike a delicate balance between a need for financial protection and the natural generosity that is likely there at the time of marriage.