The advertisement of wedding fairs shows that it is that time of year again. Like clockwork, wedding planners and their clients will make careful choices over dresses, photographers, wedding venues, colors and host of other elements that comprise a day a bride will never forget.
However, when it comes to potential legal issues in marriage, prospective brides may want to discuss the possibility of a premarital agreement.
Premarital agreements (or prenups, for short) are contracts that couples enter into before marriage that essentially spell out how property will be divided in the event of a divorce. Prenups have long been popular among celebrity couples (e.g., Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake), and couples with significant income disparities going into the marriage.
Some couples may consider prenuptial agreements as a matter of course. Others may scoff at the idea given that it is an indictment that their marriage is doomed from the beginning. Regardless of your stance, three questions should be answered when considering a prenup.
What is your comfort level?
As we said before, discussing a prenup essentially says “I love you…right now, but I don’t know what the future holds.” That’s a tough discussion to have unless you’ve been married before. A divorcee may understand through experience that romantic love may not stand the test of common marital difficulties.
What are you bringing to the marriage?
Prenups are geared towards protecting non-marital property, which can be lost when commingled with marital property. If you don’t have many assets going into the marriage, chances are that a prenuptial agreement may not be necessary. However, no one can predict the future and know what may be part of a marital estate a decade after saying “I do.”
What are your expectations?
Since the core discussions surrounding prenups center around finances, this should be an ideal time to talk about how money will be handled during the marriage. Such a discussion may reveal things about your soon-to-be spouse that may reveal red flags, or show that you are meant to be together.
If you decide that a prenuptial agreement is appropriate for you, an experienced family law attorney can advise you on the essential provisions that should be included.