No one wants to go into a marriage already expecting the worst, but even the most seemingly stable couples can hit bumps in the road that tear them apart (i.e. Miranda Lambert/Blake Shelton, Jennifer Garner/Ben Affleck). While many have negative misconceptions about prenuptial agreements from celebrity cases, these agreements have the power to protect both parties when entering a marriage.

The Importance of Prenuptial Agreements

No one enters marriage expecting to get divorced. Yet, about half of all marriages end in divorce.

Prenuptial agreements are contracts between martial partners made in contemplation of the end of the marriage – which not only applies to divorce, but can also apply to the death of one of the spouses. The whole idea is to minimize the uncertainties of the law, litigation, if something does happen.

Also, with a prenup, parties do not have to worry about changes in the law affecting their property rights or their obligation to pay or receive support. If the law changes, one’s rights stay the same.

How to Bring Up A Prenuptial Agreement and Its Benefits

I always tell my clients that the most difficult part of prenuptial agreement is approaching one’s fiancé about it. The legal side is often not as difficult as the emotions. However, a positive way to look at is that as a couple, you are really working in advance to see what assets or debts you are coming in with and building a financial strategy that is beneficial as a married couple. In fact, for younger couples, you may want to bring it up in terms of debts you are coming in with – such as student loans.

Premarital agreements may cover a broad range of issues, such as all assets, liabilities, and spousal support. Or, it can be limited to specific assets, such as ownership of a family business.

Prenups are especially beneficial for those who come to the marriage with children, because it can stipulate financial responsibilities when it comes to the costs of raising a child if a breakup or death occurs. The same applies if one spouse is a caretaker for an aging parent.

And, if you own a business, a prenup can also protect both the company and your loved one.

Tips for Signing A Prenuptial Agreement

I would start talking about it with your fiancé months before the wedding- it’s not something to do in a hurry or too close to your big day. If you don’t have time before the wedding, you might consider a post-nuptial agreement, which happens after the wedding, but includes agreements similar to prenups. The problem is the once the parties are married, one of them may not be motivated to enter into the agreement.

Consider what you want to accomplish with a prenuptial agreement. If one spouse is likely to control all the assets and income, does the one with all the money want to preserve it, or does the one without the wealth want to make sure he or she is taken care of? Do you want to protect a particular asset, such as a business or your family’s gift of a down payment on a house? At Datz & Datz, we believe a good agreement expresses the intentions of both parties, with each person being well informed and not being under pressure to sign.

Most importantly, consult with an attorney who has the appropriate skills and experience. Although many lawyers can do a competent job, the ones who are clearly qualified are those who are Board Certified in Marital and Family Law by The Florida Bar and those are who Fellows of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. The most common question I get is whether a prenuptial agreement is enforceable. The answer is prenuptial agreements are very enforceable, if they are done right.

 As seen on WJXT on August 8, 2015:

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