Prenuptial agreements have an unfairly negative reputation. People historically used to think of them as a sign that someone engaged to be married doesn’t expect the relationship to last. However, with more families having two wage earners and divorce being a very common outcome for modern marriages, more young couples than ever before have started embracing the prenuptial agreement as a way of protecting themselves when they agree to share their future and their finances with someone else.
There are multiple noteworthy benefits that come from drafting a prenuptial agreement during an engagement. What might a couple stand to gain from negotiating a marital contract before their wedding?
A lower chance of getting divorced
Engagement is often a romantic process during which people focus on their dreams for the future and not necessarily the practical challenges their family will face when they combine households. People sometimes have unspoken expectations about marriage that can end up putting a lot of strain on their relationship. When discussing a prenuptial agreement, fiancées typically discuss what they intend to bring to the marriage and contribute to the household. This may actually increase the couple’s chances of remaining married in the long run.
Protection if they do divorce
The biggest benefit of a prenuptial agreement in many cases is how it can eliminate the litigation sometimes involved in a divorce. Couples that have already established rules for property division and other key factors and their divorce will only require a judge’s review and approval rather than support dividing their assets to separate their lives. At a time when people’s feelings toward one another are negative, they may have a harder time making reasonable choices that prioritize their long-term needs. Setting terms long before the relationship changes can mean much less tension during the divorce process, which can be especially beneficial for those with young children.
Retaining more control over the future
Many people avoid divorce in part because the process is unpredictable. No one knows what a judge will think of their circumstances or how they will decide to divide a couple’s property. Most people find the idea of handing over that control to someone else very intimidating and might remain in an unhappy marriage because of that uncertainty.
Other times, some people pursue a divorce in part because they have unrealistic expectations and hope that a judge might grant them an unrealistically large portion of the marital estate. Those that have already clarified what will happen to their assets in divorce won’t romanticize possible outcomes, nor will they have to fear divorce as a destabilizing experience.
Recognizing the numerous valuable benefits often derived from prenuptial agreements could help to inspire someone to discuss an agreement with their spouse or help them respond more calmly to a spouse’s suggestion to discuss a marital agreement.