Should you agree to a premarital agreement?

If 2018 is the year in which you will marry, you are likely a very busy person right now. Planning a wedding and preparing for marriage takes a lot of time and attention. You may be looking forward to a very simple New York wedding event or gearing up for the most elaborate, luxurious celebration you've been dreaming of since childhood. Either way, you have to plan, then execute, and that involves time and effort that you must fit into your other normal daily tasks and duties.

You and your intended spouse undoubtedly have a lot to talk about. Among topics, such as guest lists, where you will live when you are married, and other fine details regarding your upcoming marriage ceremony and wedding day celebration, you may also want to broach the topic of a prenuptial agreement. If that sounds extremely unromantic to you at this point, perhaps researching the topic further can help you determine whether it's a worthwhile option in your particular situation.

Potential benefits and downfalls

As with most types of contracts, there are potential pros and cons regarding prenuptial agreements. The following list provides information that can help you make informed decisions:

  • One of the biggest potential downfalls of a prenup is that you may think the act of signing a contract with the person you intend to marry is unromantic. There are ways to make the process seem less stoic, such as honoring the occasion of your signing with a special meal or token gift to each other. However, if you believe asking your fiancé to enter a premarital contract will put a damper on your relationship, you may want to consider a post-nuptial contract instead.
  • If you're a business owner or have other separately owned property that you wish to protect from possible future property division in the event of divorce, then signing a prenuptial agreement is your best bet.
  • If you and your future spouse are both practical thinkers who have every intention of staying married for life, but you both realize things don't always go as planned, you can avoid many conflicts in divorce by getting certain things in writing ahead of time.
  • There are some issues that you can't incorporate into a prenuptial agreement. These would include matters of child custody or child support. When divorce occurs, the court determines such issues based on current state guidelines and individual circumstances; therefore, preferences stated in a prenuptial agreement would have no bearing on the court's ruling.
  • In addition to protecting assets, or separating ownership of assets, you can also use a prenuptial agreement to assign debts and liabilities. For instance, if you want to avoid getting stuck paying for your spouse's college loan debt, you can include that debt as solely your spouse's responsibility in your prenuptial agreement.

Another benefit of a prenup is that you can customize a contract to fit your particular needs and ultimate goals. In fact, many New York spouses say they are glad they signed such contracts ahead of time because it helped strengthen their marriages in the long run.

Who can help?

State laws vary regarding prenuptial agreements, so it's always best to discuss a proposed contract with someone well versed in such laws. Many couples visit experienced family law attorneys to learn more about the process.

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