Do You Need a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement may not be for everyone; however, certain individuals should consider one.  Prenuptial agreements get a bad reputation because you are planning for the marriage to end before it even starts.  A common disbelief is that at the same time that you are pledging forever, you also are planning for the end of the marriage.  Many marriages end because spouses are not on the same page regarding their finances during the marriage or they discover that one spouse's finances were not properly represented prior to the marriage.  A prenuptial agreement requires couples to fully disclose their financial circumstances to each other before they are married.  It also requires that the couple discuss and plan how to manage their marital finances. 

A common belief is that prenuptial agreements are a thing for the “rich and famous.”  Those with substantial personal assets and real property may want to have a prenuptial agreement in place when entering into wedlock.  This would include individuals who have spent years building a business from the ground up or who otherwise own interests in a business or corporation.  In this category are also those who bring valuable family heirlooms to a marriage or who are anticipating a future inheritance.  It may also be a worthwhile consideration for individuals who want to put in place safeguards to protect any real estate interests, rights to intellectual property, or retirement or investment accounts.  A prenuptial agreement may also be a good fit for a person with substantial earning capacity, even if his or her current assets add up to little.

Oddly enough, those on the other end of the spectrum would also do well to consider putting in place a prenuptial agreement.  In fact, many individuals these days tend to bring more debt to a marriage than they do assets.  With a prenuptial agreement, partners can protect themselves from each other’s debt and plan how credit card debt, student loans, medical bills, and home mortgages, acquired before or during the marriage, will be divided if the marriage ends. 

Finally, a prenuptial agreement may be a wise choice for individuals with certain family considerations.  If one or both spouses have children from a previous marriage, a prenuptial agreement can help protect each spouse's financial interests and spell out how any property will pass to their children.   Further, a prenuptial agreement can outline the couple’s agreement as to spousal maintenance. 

If you are contemplating marriage, our experienced Maple Grove, MN family law attorneys can help you determine whether a prenuptial agreement is a wise course of action based on your personal circumstances.  Call us to schedule an appointment.

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