What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement typically recites the properties and financial assets of a couple before they marry and specifies their property rights should their marriage fail. It provides protection to each spouse and their children in the event of divorce. Having a prenuptial agreement doesn't necessarily mean that the couple is anticipating an unhappy marriage; rather, it means that they're looking out for each other's rights and the future of their family members when worse comes to worst in their marriage. This isn't to induce fear, but according to the American Psychological Association, 40–50% of all married couples end up divorcing at some point in time. So it's best to be prepared for divorce or death before entering marriage.
How to Write a Prenuptial Agreement
Most couples really do need to agree on their property rights before marriage. It can get hectic especially when the agreement between two parties happens before the marriage. But agreeing with regards to the ownership should not be overseen. With a prenuptial agreement, couples are protected if the marriage won't work accordingly. In writing a prenuptial agreement, make sure to vividly write down important terms and conditions so that boundaries and responsibilities are understood. Here's an easy guide in making your prenuptial agreement.
1. Talk with Your Fiance
Before actually agreeing to a contract, you must talk with your fiance regarding his/her views on this matter. Both of you may have different views as to who gets what and which is really which. Also, your fiance may have other contributions to your list of shared properties. It's best to have this talk before wedding invitations are out; your partner may react negatively on your desire to have a prenup in place. In fact, 62% of people think that asking for a prenuptial agreement has negative connotations and 63% of people feel that they would be at increased risk of divorce if their potential spouse asked them to sign a prenup.
2. Listing Down
Since your properties, financial statements, and assets are what you are primarily protecting, it's best to list them down first so you can have a clearer picture as to which ones you're willing to share and which ones must remain singularly yours. You must disclose all of your properties and assets to your spouse so as to avoid future arguments; the court may not accept your prenuptial agreement when they found out otherwise.
3. Allocate Your Properties
When you're done making your properties and assets agreement, it's important for you to indicate who can benefit from it in the event of divorce or your death; otherwise, the state will decide for you. This is specifically important for couples who have children from prior marriages and also for couples who wish to provide for their extended families.
4. Put the Agreement to Writing
Once you've both agreed to actualize the legal agreement, you can then start drafting your own prenuptial agreement before consulting your lawyers. Formats for prenuptial agreements vary among states, but typically, it contains the document title, your identification, purpose, current circumstances, effective date, disclosure, properties, etc.
5. Legal Consultation
After securing a draft of your prenuptial agreement, it is recommended that you both seek consultation from separate lawyers. With that, you can gain different perspectives and resolve other issues in the simple agreement you've drafted.
6. Bind the Contract
After careful consideration and when all required measures have been met, it's finally time to sign your prenuptial agreement.