Although it might not sound like the most romantic topic to discuss with your intended, having a family lawyer draw up a prenuptial agreement before your big day is now considered the norm. A prenuptial agreement or 'prenup' is a legally binding agreement between two parties that stipulates what the financial arrangements will be should the marriage end. It's really a way of agreeing who gets what in the event of a split before you get married, rather than arguing about finances after the event.
But do you really need a prenup? Read on to find out why you should seriously consider one.
Your financial circumstances
If you are substantially wealthier than your partner, a prenup can give you peace of mind that your partner is marrying you for love, rather than for your money. Similarly, if you have a very well-paid job, a good pension or substantial assets, a prenup can be used to limit what your partner would be entitled to should you divorce in the future.
If this is to be your second marriage and you have children from your first, a prenup will ensure that in the event of your death both your first family and your second are provided for, and neither is cut out.
In the absence of a prenuptial agreement, your ex could make a claim for a share in any business that you own, and consequently become an unwanted partner in your business. This is not a desirable state of affairs, especially if you are not a sole trader, and there are other directors involved.
If you are concerned that stipulations in your will could be challenged by your partner in the event of your death, your prenup can include a clause stating that they cannot do so.
Your partner's financial situation
If you are marrying someone who has a significant debt or is bankrupt, you certainly don't want to be held liable for those financial burdens if you divorce. A prenup can ensure that you are not held financially responsible for your partner's debts.
In a situation where you and your partner have children, and your partner decides to give up work in order to look after them, a prenup can be used to offer financial protection to them. This reassures your partner that he/she will not be left penniless and unable to earn a living should you divorce while the children are very young.
In circumstances where your partner is much wealthier than you are, a prenup can be used to protect them from any financial claim you might try to make on their assets and capital in the event of a divorce.
Nobody gets married with the intention of subsequently becoming another divorce statistic, but it is sensible to put a legal agreement in place before you both take the plunge. A prenuptial agreement can ensure that the all-too familiar divorce scenario of 'shutting the stable door after the proverbial horse has bolted' can be avoided. If you think a prenuptial agreement would be right for you, have a chat with lawyers through firms like Freedom Family Law.