The lawyers at Bodie, Attorneys at Law discuss the importance of obtaining a prenuptial agreement before you say ‘I do.’
Conversing with your future spouse about a prenuptial agreement can be an uncomfortable and tense situation. However, it is important to be honest about your respective financial positions before your big day, to ensure that your assets will be protected in the event that your marriage dissolves.
Entering into a union with another person has large implications on the state of your finances. Whereas before you were solely responsible for the management of your own assets and debt, you now may be legally liable for another’s as well. A prenuptial agreement helps to open a beneficial and honest dialogue about finances before committing to a lifetime of shared burden. If you and your partner are able to discuss difficult financial issues now, you are more likely to be healthier place in the long-term.
If you are unsure whether your financial situation merits consideration of a prenuptial agreement, here are some factors that can help guide your decision:
There is a large difference in assets and debt between you and your partner
When there is a large variation in assets and debt between partners, there is always a risk that one partner will carry more financial weight than the other. If the main issue is overwhelming debt from your partner, you risk taking on the bulk of the other expenses until that debt is settled.
You are concerned about your significant others’ spending habits
It is essential to discuss finances with your partner, especially with the money you share. Often times, partners withhold financial information from the other. A prenuptial agreement could have been helpful if you suspected or knew that your partner was irresponsible with finances.
Should your marriage not last and your partner has accrued a significant amount of debt or unpaid taxes, you will find yourself bearing half of that burden after the divorce is finalized.
You want to be prepared in case of a divorce
Spousal support is an important issue in a divorce but is also the cause of much disagreement between former partners. Deciding upon this matter before marriage in the event that it may be necessary will not only save you time, but also reduce conflict and legal costs later.
You could be the beneficiary of a large inheritance
Though inheritances are classified as individual property, the funds from such can be used somewhere along the line to invest in real estate, or get mixed in with mutual accounts. After time, the ability to track the money specifically from an inheritance becomes difficult, and a prenuptial agreement could help to protect those funds.
You already have dependents or beneficiaries
Children from a previous marriage, siblings or elderly parents may already have a stake in your assets. In the event that something happens to you, a prenuptial agreement can help to protect the interests of your dependents.
You own, or plan to invest in real estate or business
Buying a home or a business together means pooling resources and assessing debt and credit. This process also makes distinguishing funds a nightmare. Protecting your share of the investment is advisable in case of a future split.
You want to maintain separation between assets
You may have assets, property, trusts or investments that you want solely in your name after you get married. It is important to obtain a prenuptial agreement to protect specific items you wish to remain yours throughout the course of the marriage.
Either spouse will have an income gap
Whether it is a return to education, travel or self-enrichment for an extended period of time, the responsibility of financial support may fall on the other spouse. In case of a divorce, a prenuptial agreement can help protect the needs of the supporting spouse because of the funding they provided to help the other.
It is important to consider and discuss these factors early on, as the validity of a prenuptial agreement is often dependent on the time when the agreement is executed. Both partners will need to seek separate experienced counsel, and provide transparency in their financial standing and goals for the prenuptial agreement.
Relationships are built on trust and honesty. It is vital to begin a lifelong union with open dialogue about your financial concerns. One of the experienced attorneys at Bodie, Attorneys at Law can help to facilitate this dialogue. Contact us today to discuss your situation.