Prenuptial agreements are growing in popularity, and that’s a good thing. In the past, these contracts had a bad reputation as tools for rich men to disenfranchise their younger, less-monied wives. But thankfully, more couples are seeing the value of prenuptial agreements and using them to provide mutual protection and parity.
Another reason why prenups are increasing in popularity is that Americans are entering into first marriages later in life than previous generations. If you have already launched a successful career and are now about to enter into a first (or subsequent marriage), a prenuptial agreement is a wise investment. Below are some considerations to keep in mind if you are thinking of drafting one.
Prenups let you set the terms of a divorce (when divorce is necessary)
Unfortunately, there is still a lot of myth and superstition surrounding prenuptial agreements: they doom marriages, they kill romance and they show that couples are expecting to get divorced. None of these are true. Instead, prenuptial agreements simply allow you to set the terms of a divorce ahead of time if divorce ever becomes necessary. By agreeing on terms now, you could potentially save a lot of time, money and acrimony by avoiding disputes during the divorce process. The agreement imparts predictability and efficiency.
Think of it this way: Without a prenuptial agreement, you are subjecting yourself to the “agreement” known as Maryland divorce laws. In that light, it makes more sense to craft something that suits you and your unique situation.
An agreement is only worthwhile if it can be enforced
Prenuptial agreements should never be thrown together or entered into without the clearheaded consent of both parties. Instead, they need to be drafted with the help of an experienced family law attorney, and each spouse needs adequate time to read the agreement and consult with their own attorney so that they fully understand what they are signing. Prenuptial agreements are commonly challenged on allegations of duress or deception, and a judge may decide not to enforce the order. Alternatively, if they are written poorly, they may violate state laws and be deemed unenforceable. The way to avoid this in either case is to consult a good attorney.
As a successful professional, you have worked hard to amass the assets you currently enjoy. Why not invest in a way to protect those assets before getting married?