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3 Reasons Most Couples Can Benefit From Drafting Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement can help a couple protect their dependents, come to terms on sensitive issues and avoid needless losses if they ever separate.

To many engaged couples in Florida, signing a prenuptial agreement may not sound like an appealing step to take before starting a new life together. Many people may even believe these agreements are only necessary for celebrities, high net worth individuals and couples with complex financial concerns. In reality, though, signing these agreements has become an increasingly common choice due to the important protections and benefits that they offer.

1. Reaching a Consensus

Differing views on financial issues are a source of strife for many couples. In one Kansas State University study, financial arguments were even identified as the top predictor of divorce. Drawing up a prenuptial agreement can force a couple to discuss their views on difficult financial issues that could otherwise cause discord later. These financial conversations can also expose any incompatibilities in the unspoken assumptions or beliefs that each person holds.

As an example, one party may think that if either spouse gives up earnings and career opportunities to support the other spouse or act as a homemaker, he or she should be appropriately compensated via spousal support or a favorable division of marital property. If the other person does not share this belief, it may be easier to reach a reasonable compromise while the situation is still a hypothetical. People who wait to address these issues once they are married be likelier to fight and fail to reach an agreement.

2. Protecting Any Dependents

In many modern relationships, one or both parties have already been married at some point in the past. According to the Pew Research Center, as of 2013, over two-thirds of previously married adults between ages 55 and 64 had remarried, as had over half of previously married adults between ages 35 and 54. Even 42 percent of divorced adults under age 34 had already remarried.

Often, these adults have dependents or grown children from a prior marriage, and providing for these relatives is a top concern. A prenuptial agreement can allow a couple to protect the rights and financial security of their children, even if the marriage eventually ends.

3. Simplifying a Separation

In the event that a couple does ultimately divorce, having a prenuptial agreement in place can offer numerous benefits. These include:

  • Alleviating common sources of conflict. By determining whether alimony will be awarded and specifying how property will be divided, a prenuptial agreement can eliminate the need for disputes over these matters.
  • Reducing financial losses. By facilitating more efficient divorce proceedings, prenuptial agreements can help spouses reduce financial losses resulting from legal costs.
  • Minimizing uncertainty. In a contested divorce, matters such as property division are determined based on fairly subjective criteria, and this can make predicting the outcome of a settlement difficult for both spouses. With a prenuptial agreement in place, spouses can accordingly make their plans for life after divorce.

In addition, a prenuptial agreement may help reduce stress and strife during the process of divorce. This may especially benefit people who will have continued interactions after the separation due to co-parenting, spousal support payments or similar responsibilities.

Reaching an Appropriate Agreement

People who are considering signing prenuptial agreements should bear in mind that several mistakes can render these agreements invalid or unenforceable. To avoid these pitfalls, and to ensure that the final agreement is reasonably fair to both parties, couples should seek the help of an attorney who has experience drafting these critical contracts.

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