Getting married is one of the most exciting periods in life. The joy of spending life with your partner is constant, but while you may be euphoric, it’s important to come back to reality and consider the financial impact of your partnership. While prenuptial agreements can be a strong safeguard for your pre-marriage finances, they can cause painful emotions and feelings of resentments. Here are some of the pros and cons of prenuptial agreements.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is simply a legal contract that separates your pre-marriage finances from the ones you possess in a partnership. In the event of a separation or divorce, the prenuptial agreement protects your ownership over those finances. If you don’t have the protection of a prenuptial agreement, your pre-marriage financial assets are at risk of being split if a divorce does occur.
This is the first big one. Being able to have in writing what you’d like to do with your money in the event of a divorce or death is serious protection. If you have children from a previous marriage or have experienced a costly divorce in the past, signing a prenuptial agreement can ensure that if things don’t go as planned, you’ll still be able to stay financially afloat. While it’s unpleasant to think that your wonderful partnership could end in divorce, keeping that in mind while signing a prenuptial agreement will help you realize it’s for your financial protection.
This is the biggest downside: while there are no statistics on how many prenuptial agreements are signed per year, the divorce rate in the United States continues to hover around 45%. While no one can be sure if this is due to prenuptial agreements, asking your partner to sign such a document can make them feel alienated, suspicious, or betrayed. Be sure to carefully outline your concerns before broaching this subject with your loved one.
Often times one of the main boons of marriage is the guaranteed financial security for the less affluent spouse, or even for the spouse who is unemployed or underemployed. If one partner enters the union without a large amount of assets, and chooses not to work during the marriage, in the event of a divorce that partner will still have access to his/her spouse’ s premarital finances. Upon signing a prenuptial agreement, if one partner enters the marriage wealthier than the other, it will stay that way if a separation is to occur. This agreement then helps to ensure that both parties are marrying for purposes other than financial security.
While it’s nice to believe that these issues can be looked at logically and rationally, setting aside emotions during this process can be a difficult task. While there are many partners out there who support the financial independence of their spouse, many might take this suggestion as an assumption that one party is only in it for the money. This can take an emotional toll on both partners from which it’s difficult to heal.
When it comes to prenuptial agreements, each scenario will be best suited by a different act. If you’ re unsure about what to do, talk over the issue with friends, family, and most importantly your spouse, in order to understand your needs and prepare for the future.
This article was contributed by Sandy Wallace, an aspiring lawyer who loves to share his far-reaching knowledge of law with anyone who will listen. Sandy writes on behalf a Denton divorce lawyer from Hammerlie Finley Law Firm –Texas’s passionate, personable divorce and family lawyers.
Editor’s note: See also our guide to some of the best Texas family lawyers here – based on reviews, ratings and more.