Family law experts have noted a recent increase in the popularity of prenuptial agreements (or premarital agreements), a legal document that outlines how an engaged couple will divide their assets in the event of a future divorce.
Traditionally, a prenuptial agreement is drafted before a marriage to protect one, entering a marital union, who has significantly more wealth. This is certainly still the case for some, but having a prenup has become progressively more common for modern couples.
Current prenup trends indicate that the times, they are a-changin’, but why? Most experts posit that it’s a combination of several factors:
- The evolving role of women in the workplace has made it more common for women to have higher paying salaries than they used to, make more money than their partner, or even be the sole breadwinner in their families, and thus, more women are seeking prenups to protect their assets.
- Those who have been previously married and are considering reentering a martial union want to protect themselves, after having been through a previous difficult divorce experience.
- Millennials are signing prenuptial agreements at higher rates than previous generations, due to several factors. This generation statistically is waiting until later in life to get married, and thus, often one or both parties has assets to protect, having been in the workforce longer; having experienced a parent’s difficult divorce is also commonly cited.
- Same-sex couples, now able to legally marry in Ohio and throughout the United States, often decide to sign a prenuptial agreement to protect their assets.
So, who needs a prenuptial agreement?
Apart from protecting your current and future assets, you may consider a premarital agreement if you or your parter:
- Own a business
- Own property
- Own pets
- Have children from a previous relationship
- Have been previously married
- Plan to take time off work to raise children
- Have substantial debt
- Have significant retirement accounts
- Expect to receive stock options during your marriage
- And other considerations
If you think you need a prenup, start preparing now.
The first thing you should do is talk to your significant other. The subject of money can easily become touchy, and when you are happily in love and about to wed, it can be difficult or even upsetting to discuss the possibility of a future divorce. Understanding that it might be turbulent with your significant other when the topic is first broached, we recommend listening to your significant other’s concerns, and providing assurance that you do not want to, nor plan to divorce. Marriage is, of course, a romantic relationship first, but a financial and legal relationship as well, and often deserves that consideration in planning for the future. However uncomfortable, don’t put off these discussions, as it’s best for the decision not to feel rushed or forced.
Having the prenup discussion can be tough for some, but it is often a good exercise to go through before marriage (even if you don’t end up signing the premarital agreement), as it initiates financial discussions that some couples may not have had – leading to a better fiscal union from the start.
Next, before you plan to meet with your attorney, gather your financial information in preparation for the meeting. You’ll want to bring documentation of:
- bank accounts
- investment accounts
- tax returns
- insurance policies
- and other financial documents
Additionally, take time to prepare an organized list of questions for your attorney. Outline your concerns.
Then, decide what you want the prenuptial agreement to include and what your primary areas of concerns are: division of property, alimony, compensation for lost wages while staying at home with children, etc. We can even consider the custody of your pets. Knowing your main areas of concern in advance helps our legal team focus on your priorities from the start.
We love it when our clients come prepared. If you aren’t sure about everything you need to bring to your first meeting, it’s OK. Do your best to compile all of your thoughts, questions, concerns, and significant documents. Be thorough. If you think something might be pertinent, bring it. If something is missing, don’t fret, we can address it later.
Once your preparation is done, it’s time to hire a lawyer.
The team at The Law Office of Brian Jones is more than ready and happy to sit down with you at our Delaware, Ohio office to discuss your financial situation, and how to best protect your assets at a prenuptial agreement consultation. Simply call our office at 740-363-3900 to schedule your consultation.
Our attorneys can help answer your questions and even help guide you in how to discuss the importance and benefits of a premarital agreement. Once retained, we are equipped to draft a new prenuptial agreement, review an existing agreement, and/or negotiate the terms of the agreement for you.
Our office wants our clients to have rewarding marriages that last, but we understand it’s often necessary to protect ourselves from what we can’t predict. And for that, we’re here to help.