Marital agreements are a topic that many couples are hesitant to breach and even more don’t think to discuss at all. For some, the reason behind their hesitance is fear of offending their significant other. For others, it’s the presumption that marital agreements are for other people, not for them. But before you and your partner dismiss the conversation altogether, you should take some time to learn more about how a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can actually work in your favor. Marital agreements are used in the context of people getting married and sometimes in the context of people who are already married but need to allocate their assets for the termination of their marriage by death - this is intended to simplify asset allocation at death and to work hand and hand with the estate plan - will, trust, etc.
When clients come to attorney Vance E. Hendrix to learn more about marital agreements, he likes to remind them that these documents aren’t about planning for the worst. They are about learning where your finances stand both individually and together, establishing a clear-cut plan as a team, and protecting yourselves from whatever curveballs life may throw at you later on.
Despite the evolution of the prenuptial agreement, the term still holds a certain social stigma. This negative association is caused by a few common misconceptions about prenups, such as these:
- “People only get prenups when they think they’re going to divorce”
- “Prenups are only for rich people”
- “Prenups can only hurt the spouse who has less money going into the marriage”
These misconceptions are understandable — after all, these are the scenarios we tend to hear about on TV. But contrary to popular belief, prenuptial agreements are not just about planning for the worst-case scenario. They are a tool for allocating financial responsibilities between two partners and for estate planning, which not only prevents future complications but also opens the door to a healthy, upfront conversation that too many couples put off until after marriage.