Most couples are reluctant to broach the idea of a prenuptial agreement, not wanting to discuss a possible end to a marriage that is just getting started. However, in reality, a prenuptial agreement is inescapable. Either you and your spouse thoughtfully compose a prenuptial agreement together OR you are at the mercy of the one your state government has established by virtue of divorce laws.
Many couples bring things into a marriage that hold special meaning for them. It may be a childhood home or an item that has been in their family for generations. If you divorce without a prenup, your assets will be divided according to the laws of your state, not according to what you believe to be right or fair. In this scenario, sentimental value typically takes a backseat to an agreement strictly concerned with monetary value, thus putting you at risk of losing the things you hold most special.
In contrast, a thoughtfully prepared prenuptial agreement can specify that certain items be maintained as your separate property and are therefore protected from being lost to marital property division. A carefully crafted prenup can be an excellent protective measure for those wanting to safeguard gifts, inheritances, family heirlooms and the like. They can even include provisions for the family pet.
Of course, the best time to execute a prenuptial agreement is prior to tying the knot, but if that is not the case, having one prepared early in the marriage is effective also. The prenuptial agreement will formalize your and your spouse’s wishes and understanding regarding which assets will be considered marital versus separate property and what financial provisions will be made in the event of divorce.
If you have questions regarding prenuptial agreements, contact the Law Offices of Schlesinger & Strauss, LLC. serving Chicagoland. We have over 40 years of experience in family law matters including prenuptial agreements, divorce, child support and custody, and property division.
Source: Forbes.com, “Skittish About A Prenup? Like It Or Not, You Already Have One”, by Jeff Flanders, accessed October 30, 2014