In Defense of the Prenuptial
Marriage is a journey toward a destination that’s impossible to predict. Whether you want to admit it or not, the way you feel about your spouse today may not be the way you feel in the future. Many engaged and newlywed couples don’t even consider the possibility of divorce, even though 40 to 50 percent of marriages in the United States end in one.
This is why it’s important for couples to have a rational discussion about the possibility of their feelings for one another changing now, while they can clearly see what is best for each other.
This is where the prenuptial agreement comes in.What is a Prenuptial Agreement and How Does It Work?
A prenup is essentially a contract entered into by both spouses before the marriage. The parameters and content of a prenup can include any number of things, but usually it contains provisions for alimony (i.e. spousal support) and property division during a divorce.
And contrary to popular belief, prenups aren’t just for the rich and famous, and neither do they only benefit the spouse with greater wealth. Everyone needs some kind of protection for their property, debt, earnings, and future inheritances.
Prenups get a bad rap due to how many couples believe it will jinx the marriage or force one spouse (usually the one with less wealth) into a position of weakness. But given that money and a lack of communication are two of the primary reasons people get divorced, a prenup doesn’t just protect both spouses, it also helps the couple have healthy discussions about finances and assets throughout the course of the marriage. This, in turn, will prevent a divorce from happening in the first place.What is a Postnuptial Agreement and How Does It Work?
On the other hand, married individuals can enter into a postnuptial agreement to outline intentions for assets and earnings during the marriage and a divorce. Postnups are typically entered into by couples who were not able to finalize a prenup before getting married, or long-term couples who feel that certain issues are threatening their marriage.
These issues can be addressed when preparing a postnuptial agreement, which can help couples get things off their chest, analyze their assets, debt, and spending habits (again, money is one of the primary reasons for divorce), and prevent potential catastrophes that may strain their relationship.
Aside from providing an avenue for catharsis in a marriage, a postnup can even outline specific penalties against behaviors like infidelity or abuse.
Like life insurance, the only time people realize the importance of these contracts is when the marriage goes awry. And by knowing that a prenup or postnup is on the table, spouses can better avoid making terrible decisions from a place of anger and resentment.
If you, or a loved one, wish to learn more about prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, schedule a consultation with family law attorney Daniella Lyttle to discuss your legal options. Call the Lyttle Law Firm today at 512.215.5225 to find out how we can help you.