If you have recently gotten engaged, you and your fiancé are likely awash in the details of planning your wedding and preparing for the beginning of your life together. Perhaps the prospect of asking your partner to sign a prenuptial agreement during this hopeful time feels uncomfortable, like pouring a bucket of cold water over all your shared hopes and romance.
However, it may surprise you to know that more and more couples are going this route. Many couples are realizing that prenuptial agreements aren’t actually unromantic. In fact, they can be an act of care, not only for yourself but for your future spouse. By thoughtfully planning for your future through a prenuptial agreement, you can protect each other’s security and financial well-being no matter what happens in the years to come.
Here are 5 reasons to consider asking for a prenuptial agreement:
#1. You’re Already Entering into a Contract by Getting Married
A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract between two people who intend to marry that sets the legal and financial terms of their marriage and determines how the couple will handle any unfortunate eventualities, whether that be divorce, death, or incapacitation. Such an agreement ensures that both parties are legally protected if something unforeseen happens.
A legally valid prenuptial agreement is designed to supersede the existing default agreement that couples enter into when they marry. Many engaged couples don’t realize that marriage is itself a legally binding contract. For instance, if you eventually file for divorce in the state of New York, you will be subject to the laws governing marriage and divorce in New York. Your marital property will be divided according to those laws, unless you have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
#2. A Prenup Allows You and Your Partner More Control
Couples looking to customize their marriage agreement should consider a prenuptial agreement. This allows them to create an arrangement that best suits both of their needs and desires, especially if either partner owns real estate, has children from a previous relationship, has established businesses, or expects an inheritance - all things which have become more common as couples marry later in life with fully formed and financially established lives.
#3. A Prenuptial Agreement Builds Trust and Communication Skills
In order for a prenuptial agreement to be considered legally valid in New York, both you and your future spouse must provide a full and honest accounting of all your assets and debts. Without this mutual transparency, the stipulations agreed upon in your prenuptial agreement may not be considered fair or reasonable by the courts. The state considers it vital that each partner is equipped with an informed understanding of their respective financial situations before signing such an agreement.
Because both partners must disclose their entire financial situation without hiding anything from one another, this kind of transparency can help build trust and critical communication skills between a couple. Money matters can often be a touchy topic for couples, and it's understandable why this is the case. Each of us has individual money habits that may differ drastically from our partner’s and money matters may touch on parts of our personal histories that we’re not entirely comfortable sharing.
But the truth is, marriage binds us financially as much as it does emotionally. This means we need to learn how to talk openly about our finances in order to have successful long-term relationships. Tackling such topics together is essential for building and sustaining a healthy relationship. After all, long-term success means making important decisions with your partner by your side.
#4. A Prenuptial Agreements Helps You Plan for the Future
Planning for the future – whether that be retirement, your child’s college expenses, a vacation, or the possibility of divorce – can be a way of showing care toward the people you love. A prenuptial agreement is no different. Thinking about the possibility of divorce or the inevitability of death is not pleasant, but it is a way of facing the reality that leaving you or your future spouse to deal with either of these possibilities without a plan in place will make that possible future all the more difficult – emotionally and financially.
Not only does such an agreement clearly delineate how property will be divided if couples separate and therefore prevent future discord during a divorce, its provisions also make inheritance easier for any surviving spouse or other heirs should one partner pass away.
#5. A Prenuptial Agreement Can Save You Money and Heartache
Hiring an attorney to help ensure that your prenuptial agreement will hold up in court if necessary can help you save money and emotional resources in the long run. Your prenuptial agreement could end up helping to protect you, your spouse, or other heirs in case of your death. Or it may help you and your future spouse avoid a messy, drawn-out, and expensive litigated divorce because you had the foresight to put a prenup in place.
At Samuelson Hause PLLC, our family law attorneys are prepared to help you navigate the process of creating a prenuptial agreement and can answer any questions you may have along the way.
If you need assistance drafting or reviewing a prenuptial agreement, contact us online or call us at (516) 584-4685 to schedule a consultation.