ProConnect

Prenuptial Agreements: Not Just for Divorce

By

Prenuptial Agreements: Not Just for Divorce

The laws and regulations that govern our life are staggeringly complex. No one, not even an attorney, can know them all. But, like it or not, your marriage is subject to a myriad of rules and restrictions imposed upon it by the jurisdiction(s) in which you live, beginning with whether you “qualify” to be legally married and culminating with what happens to your property when you die. That’s the bad news. The good news is that, for the most part, you’re able to write your own rules to fit your unique situation IF you do it right.

Every business partnership worth its salt has an operating agreement that dictates the partners’ rights and obligations and what happens if a partner leaves or the partnership is dissolved. It’s a good idea to plan for such contingencies when everyone is getting along. The same applies to your remarriage. The last thing you want is for you, your spouse, and/or your heirs to be stuck in a quagmire of legal wrangling where those who benefit most are the lawyers. The time to hammer out thorny legal, financial, and estate issues is when you’re clear-headed and can think both generously and realistically.

More from YourTango: Marriage: Use It Or Lose It

A marriage operating agreement is called a prenuptial agreement if you enter into it before you get married, a postnuptial agreement if you enter into it after you get married. I’ll use the term “prenup” to apply to both. To some, “prenup” is the equivalent of a four-letter word and to have one is the equivalent of admitting that the marriage won’t last. Well, guess what?
Your marriage won’t last. It will end, if not by divorce, then by death.
You already have a prenuptial agreement—the divorce laws provided to you courtesy of the state in which you live.

You can accept the default one-size-fits-all prenup the government provides, or you can craft one that is appropriate to your circumstances. If you accept that your marriage will one day end and that you already have a prenuptial agreement, then it’s a heckuva lot easier to roll up your sleeves, make decisions, and modify the state’s prenup to fit your circumstances.

Prenups accomplish more than defining what happens if you get a divorce. They are also super-duper handy when you want to:

1. Define property rights for purposes of estate planning so you can protect your children's inheritance.

2. Protect your assets from your partner’s creditors.

3. Protect business partners and ensure the continuity of your business.

4. Clarify how you meet financial obligations from a previous marriage such as child support and alimony.

5. Compensate a spouse who is giving up a career to stay at home.

6. And more.

Grown-ups take responsibility for handling their financial and legal matters and don’t leave such important decisions up to the government. To make intelligent decisions you need to know and fully understand the impact of relevant laws on you, your finances, and your children (if any). Every state has different laws on marriage and inheritance. Investing in the help of a competent professional is worth every penny. Only a competent professional can give you that help. Having said that . . .

By all means, do your research on the internet (but don’t assume it’s 100% accurate) as a way of identifying those things you need to think about and discuss. BUT, don’t do your own legal work. A generic fill-in-the-blank one-size-fits-all prenup can’t possibly fit your situation and you end up doing more harm than good. You wouldn’t fill your own tooth or set your own broken arm. Don’t do your own legal work.

More from YourTango: From DSK To Duke Lacrosse: Do We Charge Rape Too Quickly?

A marriage is a partnership and all partnerships run best when everyone agrees upon and knows the rules.

Shela Dean is a Relationship Coach, Speaker & Bestselling Author of Frequent Foreplay Miles, Your Ticket to Total Intimacy, available on Amazon and her website: http://www.ShelaDean.com.

Share this with someone you love (or even like a lot)!

Let's make it
FB official
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Shela Dean

Author

Shela Dean Relationship Coach, Speaker and Amazon Bestselling Author of Frequent Foreplay Miles, Your Ticket to Total Intimacy http://www.ShelaDean.com http://www.FrequentForeplayMiles.com http://www.SpeakerShelaDean.com

Location: Richmond, VA
Credentials: JD
Other Articles/News by Shela Dean:

Help! My Kids Are Spoiled Brats

By

As a parent, you did everything right. You taught your kids to say please and thank you; you taught them to share their toys and wait their turn in line. So, how did they become such spoiled little monsters? If your precious angels are out of control, you've come to the right place. In this video, author, relationship coach and YourTango Expert Shela ... Read more

How Can I Fall Back In Love With My Husband?

By

If you've been married for many years, you know how difficult it can be to keep the spark alive. Still, romance is an essential ingredient in every marriage, so it's important for every couple to find a way to fall in love over and over again. In this video, author, relationship coach and YourTango Expert Shela Dean explains how you can rekindle your ... Read more

Help! My Ex Wants Custody Of Our Kids Out Of Spite

By

If you've been through a custody battle, you know how hard it can be on the kids ... and it isn't easy on the grown-ups either. But what do you do when you know that your ex doesn't really want custody, he's only fighting for it to spite you? Fortunately. Shela Dean is here to help. In this video, author, relationship coach and YourTango ... Read more

See More

Recent Expert Posts
Brain

Why Do Men Hide Their Emotions?

The emotional processing in the male and female brain is not the same....

The Secrets To Happiness Start With You

The Secrets To Happiness Start With You

Look within to center yourself and discover lasting joy.

Pigs

What is Romance?

By redefining your definition of romance your love life can improve.

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.

Resources
How to find the right pro for you
10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

10 Reasons Mental Health Pros Should Join YourTango Experts

YourTango Experts can help your business go from good to great.

10 Steps To Improve Your Coaching Business

Take your coaching business from mediocre to great in no time…

Frequently Asked Questions About YourTango Experts

Thinking of joining? Here's all the facts you need to know to make the most of your membership.

Getting Your Guy To Join You In A Therapy Or Coaching Session

So how can your get your strong, self-reliant, superman to talk to an Expert with you?

Therapist/Counselors: Who We Are & What We Do

What exactly does a therapist/counselor do and can they really help?

See more resources>
HOT STUFF!
FROM OUR PARTNERS