Should I Sign A Prenuptial Agreement Before I Get Married?
It may seem a bit unromantic to think of marriage as a contract, but from a legal standpoint, this is the case. As is true with any contract, there are many factors to consider before signing a prenuptial agreement. Each case is unique, and each couple needs to make their own decisions regarding whether or not they want to sign a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married. The following list of pros and cons are meant to help guide you through this process, but the best solution is to contact an experienced family law attorney in Media, Pennsylvania to get a personalized analysis of your particular situation.
What Does a Prenuptial Agreement Cover, and What Does It Not Cover?
Before getting into the pros and cons of signing a prenuptial agreement, it is important to understand exactly what a prenuptial agreement covers and what it does not cover. A prenuptial agreement covers the following situations:
- How your property is divided when you get a divorce,
- How your property is distributed when one of you dies,
- Who owns the marital residence if you get a divorce,
- Which property is considered marital, and which property is considered non-marital,
- Who is responsible for premarital debts, like student loans or credit card debt accrued before marriage,
- Who is responsible for paying alimony, and how much alimony is due in case of a divorce, and
- Who is responsible for financially providing for children from a previous marriage, if any.
While this is quite an extensive list, there are also a number of situations that are not covered by prenuptial agreements. For the most part, prenuptial agreements do not cover anything illegal, unconscionable, or that encourages divorce. It also does not cover child support or child custody plans, as those determinations will be made only when a divorce actually takes place.
Pros and Cons of Signing a Prenuptial Agreement
One common misconception of prenuptial agreements is that they set you up for failure in your marriage. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact, any provision that so much as hints at encouraging divorce is impermissible and must be taken out of any valid prenuptial agreement. Some of the pros of signing a prenuptial agreement before you get married are listed below:
- If you have big inheritances waiting for you, those inheritances will be protected,
- Laying out your finances before you get married can prevent you from larger arguments in the future,
- If you or your future spouse owns a business, your business will be protected by a prenuptial agreement,
- You’ll both be clear on how any debts you or your future spouse owed before you got married will be paid if you get a divorce, and
- Discussing a prenuptial agreement generally facilitates honesty and open communication.
Generally speaking, signing a prenuptial agreement can save you a lot of time and money down the line.
However, prenuptial agreements are not without its critics. The biggest criticism of prenuptial agreements is that it implies that the marriage is only temporary. It’s possible that one party may feel strongly toward signing a prenuptial agreement while the other party is strongly against it and believes it to be unromantic. Ultimately, if you and your future spouse are unable to come to an agreement on whether to sign a prenuptial agreement or on the terms of your prenuptial agreement, you should stay away from signing a prenuptial agreement before you get married. However, if you and your future spouse can both agree on the terms of the agreement before you get married, it can be a great way to potentially save yourselves a lot of time and money in the future.
If you wish to speak with an attorney about the legal and practical ramifications of signing a prenuptial agreement before getting married, call us at 610-565-6100 or visit us online to schedule your free consultation today.