When a happy couple is getting married, they have a million choices to make and events to plan. Those events are almost exclusively plans involving what will happen if everything goes as the couple hopes. However, one question that the couple should ask themselves prior to marriage is, “What happens if this does not work out?” It is never a bad idea to hope for the best but plan for the worst. It’s why so many people purchase life insurance policies.
Pre-nuptial agreements are not necessary for all couples. It’s important to know the questions you should ask yourself before marriage to decide whether you should consider a pre-nuptial agreement. Here are a few:
1. Do I own a business? Does my future spouse own a business? If either of you are business owners prior to marriage, you may want to consider executing a pre-nuptial agreement. Division of property by divorce is more complicated when one spouse owns a business. You can save you and your partner the trouble and have peace of mind that business ownership will not complicate the already high-stress decision of whether or not to end a marriage should the topic arise during marriage.
2. Is there property I want to leave to my children? If you have children from a past relationship, you may want to consider what marriage without a pre-nuptial agreement may mean for your children. If there are certain possessions or real property you want your kids to inherit, a prenuptial agreement is an easy way to alleviate that concern.
3. Is one of us coming into the marriage with more wealth? Do either of us have significant assets? The most obvious reasons to contemplate whether you need a pre-nuptial agreement is when you both have significant assets or if one of you has more wealth than the other. If that is your situation, you should not get married without a pre-nuptial agreement in place.
If any of these questions resonate with you, you should discuss them with your partner and with an attorney. It may be best for your marriage and your financial future to plan ahead in this regard like you would any other aspect of life.