An increasing number of couples are demanding a prenuptial agreement for an extensive number of reasons. The legal agreements have been around for a long time and they’re being used to protect and manage assets that may come as a surprise to many.
Prenuptial agreements are signed before the marriage takes place. Post-nuptial agreements are drawn up following the wedding. Both are legally binding and can include the disposition of everything from money, stocks, bonds, and property to heirlooms, pets, and reproductive materials should a divorce occur.
Prenuptial agreements aren’t just for the wealthy and powerful. They can also define each individual’s responsibilities within the marriage, establish inheritance rights, manage debts incurred prior to the marriage, and address alimony and death benefits. It helps streamline divorce proceedings and alleviate problems associated with a highly emotionally-charged life event.
One of the primary reasons that more couples want a prenuptial agreement is that they’re marrying later in life and have more assets to protect. They’ve advanced in their careers and subsequently have more assets or they’ve launched businesses of their own. It also offers protections in the event that one or the other partner incurs significant financial debt through loans or credit cards.
Many modern couples are choosing not to have children, but they are adopting pets. Custody of a beloved animal companion can result in extremely contentious court cases, with the pet being held in limbo until a judge makes a ruling.
Modern technology has also made it possible for men and women to cryogenically freeze genetic reproductive material. There have been some groundbreaking court cases surrounding the disposition of those types of assets and it just makes sense to protect something so highly personal.
A prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement should never be taken lightly. No one knows what the future will bring. Illness, incapacitation, and a business failure are all situations that can occur. Couples need to ensure their own financial health and protect their benefits. It’s not a sign that they lack commitment. It provides protection for both parties.