While prenups might not be the most fun thing to talk about, especially as a wedding date approaches, they’re an important way to aim for financial security (and avoid any potential headaches) later in life. A prior agreement helps make sure that both spouses are on the same page and can help to avoid and messy situations later.
A prenuptial agreement is a document that a couple will decide and agree upon before a marriage takes place. It essentially lists out what happens financially in the case of divorce. While the word might sound scary or ‘kill the excitement’ or a new marriage, it shouldn’t. It is simply a way to take the emotional energy our of splitting finances, property, and debt in the case of divorce.
Why Get a Prenup
There are several reasons to think about signing a prenup before the big day.
- Debt. If one spouse has way more debt coming in to the marriage than the other it is a good idea to sign a prenup. If a divorce happens in the future, a prenup saves the other spouse from having to deal with that.
- Wealth. Similarly, if one spouse is bringing a signifiant amount of money into the relationship, a prenup is a good idea too. Signing a prenup in this case allows the wealthier spouse to protect their assets in the case of marital deterioration.
- Prior Marriage. If one person has children, child support, or other issues from a previous relationship that they’ll be bringing into this one, it will be good to ensure that, if a divorce happens, the other spouse isn’t saddled with this responsibility.
- Small business owners. A signed agreement beforehand can protect your business in the case of divorce.
- Short engagements. Whether personal or cultural reasons, some couples get married rather quickly. In this case, it’s even more important to sign a prenup, since you may not know what you’re getting into financially or otherwise beforehand.
Things to Keep in Mind
Make sure your prenup is fair. For a prenup to be acceptable it has to be fair to both spouses. One spouse can’t acquire all marital wealth or property in the case of a divorce, and one shouldn’t be left with all the debt (unless they brought said debt into the marriage).
They’re a good thing. A prenup can be really helpful in detangling the mess that can come with a dissolving marriage. By talking things through beforehand, it can even strengthen a marriage by encouraging open communication of assets and expectations.
Washington State Courts have extensive files on divorce in our state. Visit their site for resources on divorce in Washington.