When many of us think of prenuptial agreements, we picture extremely wealthy people intent on protecting the assets they brought into the marriage. While protecting assets is often a primary reason couples decide to enter a prenuptial agreement, these agreements can be useful for purposes beyond deciding who gets what in a divorce. Prenuptial agreements provide couples with an opportunity to discuss big-picture events and lifestyle decisions they are likely to face throughout their marriage. The not so obvious benefits of prenuptial agreements include discussing and delineating expectations on spending habits, debts, family obligations, financial obligations and contributions to children, both children of the marriage and those from previous relationships, obligations to former spouses, health insurance, life insurance, if and when the parties will draft wills or other estate plans, and more.
It may seem pessimistic to start a marriage off by considering what happens if that marriage ends in divorce. But in reality, whether or not you and your spouse decide to enter one, discussing the possibility of a prenuptial agreement can be a great way to open a dialogue about important issues and decisions you and your spouse will face throughout your marriage. Good communication and clarity on roles, is an important building block of a lasting marriage, and having this discussion prior to your marriage can really help you both focus on your shared long-term goals.
In the unfortunate event that the marriage does end in divorce, having a legal agreement prior to marriage will help facilitate an amicable divorce as opposed to a potentially acrimonious, expensive, and drawn out divorce. For this reason, prenuptial agreements can be particularly beneficial for divorcing couples with children, as it can help keep the focus on creating a parenting plan and co-parenting relationship that best serves the child(ren)’s interests and wellbeing.