With all the steps that go into planning for an upcoming wedding and marriage, it can be easy to get caught up in the excitement of it all and leave some of the more mundane tasks until later. While you may be tempted to put off drafting a prenuptial agreement, it is wise, in the "big picture" sense, to resist doing so.
Sometimes referred to as premarital agreements or simple "prenups," these legal documents determine who has the rights to what in terms of property and finances. While you may know that prenuptial agreements can often simplify divorce proceedings (and therefore associated expenditures) if the marriage does not pan out, they can also prove useful if one of the married parties is to pass away. Furthermore, these documents offer an array of additional benefits.
Keep you from having to assume your spouse-to-be's debts
You probably did not ask your partner for his or her credit score before popping (or answering!) the question, but once you are married, your finances typically become tightly intertwined. A prenup can keep you from being on the hook for any large debts your partner has and therefore protect you from creditors trying to collect on these debts.
Protect any separately owned property you may have
A prenuptial agreement also comes in handy if you have business holdings or other property you want to protect if you divorce. The prenup can limit your spouse's ability to claim business ownership rights or the rights over other property named in the document, and it can also safeguard the inheritance rights of any children you may have from a previous marriage.
Stipulate specific agreements between you and your partner
Prenuptial agreements can also offer legal proof of any specific arrangements you want to make with your spouse. For example, maybe you have a thriving career, but you are planning to leave the workforce and stay home after marriage. The prenup can make arrangements for how you will be compensated for your sacrifice if you and your spouse are to divorce.
Simplify the division of property during divorce
Divorce is difficult by nature, but it can become particularly acrimonious if you are fighting over who owns what. One of the most obvious benefits of a prenup is that it can streamline the divorce process and minimize fighting between you and your partner that can negatively affect your children and your own emotional well being.
Prenuptial agreements are becoming increasingly common in American society, and with good reason. If you are planning to marry and have concerns or questions about how your property and financial rights will be affected, consider getting in touch with an attorney.