Love and Prenups Make for a Strong Marital Foundation
A prenuptial agreement – or “prenup” – is a written agreement between two people who are contemplating marriage. If done properly, it is a valid, enforceable alternative to the provisions thatf family law makes for married and divorcing couples. While the scope of a prenup can be as narrow or broad as a couple chooses, the conversations around the agreement bring up fundamental issues about marriage and relationships that all couples should be having before they get married. Even if a couple chooses to forgo a prenup, having the discussions can be a loving, healthy way to enter into marriage with clarity and joint purpose.
What Goes Into A Prenup?
Just about anything can be the subject of a prenup. The most common issues tend to address finances, but couples can agree to household work, family vacations, or any other terms that they think will help establish fair expectations and boundaries during the marriage or in the event of death or divorce. While some issues need to be drafted with care to be equitable and enforceable, and different jurisdictions prohibit some types of terms (e.g. Virginia law does not allow prenups to alter child custody), an experienced family law attorney can help couples get as creative and detailed as they want to be.
A Prenup Builds Trust
When a couple works on a prenup together, they have important conversations about the kinds of issues that can trip up a relationship. Instead of making assumptions, the couple has a chance discuss and to spell out their expectations, concerns, and boundaries. For younger couples, it can be a chance to talk about the future and plan for changes that come from completing education, having children, and progressing in careers. For older couples, there are concerns about prior marriage obligations, existing children and grandchildren, as well as already accumulated separate wealth. Rather than find out later that they were not on the same page, a couple that works on a prenup can get issues out into the open and resolve them before they become a problem. The dialogue can be difficult as well as illuminating, as it sets a couple up for success in the marriage.
A Chance to be Fair
If a marriage doesn’t survive, there are bound to be strong, often harsh, feelings between the couple. This is not an environment that allows for two people to focus on reasonable and equitable solutions. Rather than wait, a prenup gives the couple a chance to agree with one another and prevent the escalation of negative feelings that come with separation and divorce. This can be particularly important when there are children involved since the couple will need to continue to communicate with one another to resolve ongoing issues.
At Reese Law, we believe that marriage is an act of love that can be supported by open, honest agreement about important issues like property and finances. We work with couples to come to an agreement at a time when they are looking forward to a life together. A prenup can be the foundation of a healthy marriage, and it can keep negativity to a minimum in the event of a divorce. If you are contemplating marriage with your significant other, contact us to discuss a prenuptial agreement.