So you’re thinking about getting married? Bringing up the subject of a prenuptial agreement can seem hurtful and unnecessary to a romance-fueled situation. Many believe that the sole purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to ensure the financial stability of the significantly more well-off member of the union, but a prenup is actually so much more than that.
The financial settlement proceedings of a divorce can be incredibly emotionally-charged and financially ruin both spouses. For these reasons, divorce proceedings can get ugly, and sitting down to discuss a prenup beforehand can keep that from happening, if the union ends. This type of agreement can offer protection to both partners even if both partners aren’t considerably well-off.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenup is a legal document that determines how assets will be divided and protected in the event of a divorce. These types of agreements might not be as important to young people getting married for the first time. They are just starting out and haven’t yet built a life for themselves; most of their possessions will be shared assets, so it’s impossible to predetermine how to divide them ahead of time.
But if you’re getting married later in life, you’ll probably have more of your own assets to protect. Consider: you've worked countless hours at the office, and spent years building a life for yourself. If you end up divorcing, you may be forced to give half of it to someone who wasn’t there to build it with you. And honestly, how is that fair?
The Stigma Surrounding Prenuptial Agreements
A failed relationship is a devastating situation, but it can be planned for. Accepting divorce as a thing that sometimes happens and planning ahead for it can make the consequences less severe for both sides in the event of a split.
At the end of the day, the purpose of a prenuptial agreement is communication and to set expectations within the relationship. You’ll want to make sure you’re both happy with how your own property, any shared property, and, if applicable, alimony payments will be separated and dispersed in the event of a divorce. So why do so many people find the idea of a prenuptial agreement so offensive?
Here are some of the reasons there's a stigma surrounding prenuptial agreements:
Presence Of Doubts
Many argue that the existence of a prenuptial agreement reveals that one partner has doubts or may be expecting an impending marriage to fail. Thinking about the end of a marriage during what should be the “good times” in the relationship might give the appearance that one partner isn’t as happy as the other thought. But that simply isn’t always the case.
Apparent Lack Of Trust
Setting boundaries included in a prenup can also come off like the requesting partner doesn’t trust the other when in reality, you may want protection from things you already know about, such as student debt. Or you may wish to protect your partner from your own debt.
It’s Not Very Romantic
Well, this stigma is actually true. Prenuptial agreements are not romantic topics. They require a couple to venture into uncomfortable territory and imagine the end of a marriage that is just starting out; that is depressing. But that doesn’t mean that the relationship itself has no romance or that the agreement keeps future romance away.
Either way, appearances are just that: appearances; things are not always as they appear. Your partner could just be cautious. And hey-maybe they are protecting you more than themselves. Many marriages have dissolved before making it down the aisle because one partner jumps to conclusions at the very mention of a prenup.
10 Reasons They're A Good Idea
While there are blanket agreements that cover the basics, couples have the option to create their own agreements better-crafted to their specific lives. It provides a way to tailor and design the agreement to meet specific needs, wants and expectations. No two relationships are the same; therefore, no two prenups should be either. So why consider a prenuptial agreement?
1. They Make Sense
Modern-day society is a place of uncertainty, and marriage is no exception. Situations change. People change. And just like everything else, marriages can end.
Signing a prenuptial agreement shows your partner you’re realistic, responsible and forward-thinking. It means that you’re getting married for the right reasons and not for materialistic ones.
2. High Divorce Rate
It’s no secret that divorce rates among couples have been rising for decades and in the modern day, knowing a divorcee is a pretty common occurrence.
In a world where a large percentage of marriages end in divorce, considering a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot isn’t such a bad idea.
3. Protection of Valuable Assets
When you think of assets, you may think of expensive things. But they can also include items of sentimental and familial value.
In the event of a divorce, a partner may want to ensure that any family heirlooms, such as a pair of diamond earrings that have been in the family for generations, will be kept in their possession regardless of how the marriage ends. Items can also include collectible memorabilia or even a family pet you’d never want to part with.
4. Protects The Victim's Spouse
When it comes to any partnership, there is always the threat that one person may decide to leave. One spouse might not even see it coming, and then the next thing they know, they’re hit with a demand to terminate the relationship immediately.
In these cases, the partner who initiates the divorce has had much more time than the other to prepare for what lies ahead. Having a prenuptial agreement in place ensures that the victim has a plan and doesn’t get bushwhacked in rushed divorce proceedings.
5. Protects Your Credit
Going through a divorce can be traumatic in many ways. And on top of the emotional turmoil, it can pretty quickly destroy your finances and even threaten your financial future. Consequences can include damage to your credit, paying for alimony, your spouse’s debt and child support.
6. Debt Protection
While one spouse may bring more money into a marriage and wish to sign a prenup, it’s also possible for the opposite to be true.
A prenuptial agreement can also offer protection if one spouse brings significant debt into the relationship. This is an age of student debt after all, and the last thing anyone wants is to add their ex’s debt to their own.
7. It Forces Transparency
Discussing the different aspects of a prenup with your partner involves delving deep into each other’s financial lives. It forces you to examine aspects like each other's credit score, debt and spending habits.
So while a prenuptial agreement will protect you in the future, it also minimizes surprises that can occur during the marriage itself. For example, if your future wife or husband has high amounts of credit card debt, when he or she turns out to be a spender, you won’t be as surprised as you might have been.
8. Promotes Fairness And Equality
Signing a prenuptial agreement is a relatively simple process, and it is done under less emotional conditions. When terminating a marriage, having a prenup helps the couple reach a fair agreement.
However, if you sign an agreement with a cheating clause and one spouse is found guilty of infidelity, then the non-cheating partner will end up with everything.
9. The Reality of Gold-Digging
While a majority of people do get married for the right reasons, there are people out there who don’t. Gold-diggers are real, and they can be very persuasive and manipulative.
If you have high-valued assets, you are at a much-increased risk for attracting these types of people. Insisting that your partner signs a prenuptial agreement ensures that they are marrying you for the right reasons.
10. Decreases Stressfulness
When you sit down with your partner to sign a prenuptial agreement, what you are essentially setting up are the terms of separation. If you happen to separate in the future, having these terms already laid out can result in less bickering and less frustration over who gets what.
When a couple separates, emotions run high. Having a prenuptial agreement sets up the situation where both sides know what is expected of them.
So, do you still feel the same way about prenuptial agreements? Would you sign one, or do you wish you had? When people are prepared for potential disaster, they feel less stressed about it. A prenuptial agreement is a preparation tactic that acknowledges sometimes divorces happen. This agreement plans for the worst to keep either party from being devastated by it.
Prenuptial agreements usually come with a stigma, but those stigmas aren’t the reality. More romantic-minded people may feel their partner isn’t sure or isn’t all-in. And that’s completely not true! Wishing to sign a prenup doesn’t mean one partner doesn’t think or want the marriage to work out. It only means that they want to keep the potential for a difficult situation as pain-free as possible.