Most people with any assets at all know that they must make a will to protect their cash and property so that there will be a peaceful transfer of funds to their designated beneficiaries when they are gone. Few, however, take these same precautions to protect any assets that they accumulate before they get married. This may be because of the stigma associated with a prenuptial agreement; the world has classified these legally binding contracts as unromantic and greedy. However, a prenuptial agreement may protect both parties from having to endure a traumatic, bitter end to their relationship by settling the details in advance.
Prenuptial agreements are geared toward making sure that both partners in a marriage are treated fairly if the couple eventually divorces. In the United States, this written document must be voluntarily agreed upon after full financial disclosure has taken place between the two people to be wed. The terms of the agreement must be signed before a notary republic to be legally binding, and both parties must be fully aware of the terms.
The Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement
A prenuptial agreement offers both partners some reasons for signing, but it probably is more protective of women, who may not be the main breadwinner in a marriage. In fact, women who are stay-at-home moms often fare better with a prenuptial agreement because the hours they put in during the day do count toward the benefits that they receive from this type of legal action. Other reasons for choosing to sign a prenuptial agreement include the following:
• Prenuptial agreements make divorce settlements faster and less expensive.
• Prenuptial agreements protect family antiques and sentimental objects so that they may be passed down to the next generation.
• Prenuptial agreements protect each partner’s children.
• A prenuptial agreement could prevent one partner from ending up burdened by the other one’s previous reckless spending and debt.
• A prenuptial agreement might protect a family or personal business from being taken over after a divorce.
The Negative Aspects of a Prenuptial Agreement
The thought of signing a prenuptial agreement leaves a bad taste in the mouth of many potential wedding partners. Some of their arguments against taking such a step include the following:
• A prenuptial agreement seems to indicate a lack of trust in one’s partner that will surely impact the foundation of the marriage.
• A prenuptial agreement does not allow for the changes in circumstances that occur during the marriage.
• The final say of administering the terms of any prenuptial agreement lies in the hands of a judge who usually knows neither party involved.
• The prenuptial agreement may have a negative psychological impact if it becomes the central focus of the marriage.
Even though the thought of divorce is repugnant to newlyweds, most men and women should at least consider whether a prenuptial agreement could prevent future problems. Modern divorce statistics suggest that marriage is sometimes a chancy proposition, and a prenuptial agreement can mitigate some of the risks involved.
Guest author Melanie Lewis writes for an auto finance website. She thinks that for couples who have a lot of assets it is worth considering a prenuptial agreement.
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