Couples who are engaged to be wed may be wrapped up in planning their big day. However, they may not have given much thought to what their married life will look like. After all, if spouses are not on the same page about things like finances, it could cause trouble down the road. Some married couples find that their disagreements on important life issues become too great, and they are best off divorcing.
There is a way, however, that soon-to-be-wed couples can protect themselves in the event of a divorce. They can execute a prenuptial agreement to address many of the financial aspects of their marriage, as well as detail what happens to the couple's property and debts in the event of a divorce.
While it may be tempting to execute a do-it-yourself prenup, this is not always advisable. A prenup is a legal contract and can affect one's legal rights both during and after the marriage. Without legal representation, a person may agree to things that are not in their best interests, or the entire document may be held unenforceable when the time comes. Family law attorneys are familiar with what it takes to draft a legally sound prenup that protects their client's best interests.
A prenup can include provisions describing which assets and debts will remain separate and which will be marital. It can address the issue of spousal support (but generally not child support). It can include clauses on who will have control over which assets during the marriage and who is responsible for which debts during the marriage. Couples must be completely open and honest regarding the extent of their assets and debts when drafting a prenup, so that each party has a full understanding of what is on the table.
Prenups may not be romantic, but they are practical. Having a detailed conversation about finances ahead of time can serve as a good basis for a healthy marriage. But, if a marriage does end in a divorce, a prenup can help the entire divorce process run more smoothly, which could benefit all involved.