Is it a Good Idea (Realistically) to Have a Prenup?

by contactus on October 16, 2013

This is an article by Shannon McNulty.  Shannon is a Philadelphia estate attorney.

At the outset of a marriage the furthest thing from the couple-to-be is conflict or disagreement in the marriage.  Through the rose colored glasses of almost newlyweds it feels as if the couple will never disagree about anything.  Jobs, who will stay at home, where they will live, how the children will be raised, where the children will go to school, where and when the couple will retire to all seem like they will take care of themselves in time.  However, unfortunately some couples eventually find that they do not agree with their spouse on one of these issues and they are unwilling to budge from their view.  When this happens, and the marriage is no longer viable many couples often wish that they had agreed upon a plan for what to do if the marriage did not work out when relations were good and the parties were better able to work with each other.

If you don’t have a prenup then you are essentially throwing your self at the mercy of a judge should your marriage not work out.  There are huge differences in family law from state to state.  Therefore, it can make predicting how exactly a judge will divide your income uncertain.  A prenup agreement can help eliminate a great deal of this uncertainty so that both former partners can make informed and intelligent decisions about their future life.  Remember, you may need to find a new place to live.  It may be financially unsustainable to keep the marital home.  You need to have the information available that will allow you to make responsible and successful choices.

Another major consideration is the possibility that you will have children in the future.  Despite the best intentions to shield their children, the children allows bear the worst of a divorce. While a divorce is sill difficult having a prenuptial agreement can make it easier on your children.  They will have certainty and know exactly where home is and avoid changing schools multiple times.  This bit of stability can be invaluable for a child when it seems that everything else is changing.

It is, quite honestly, a good idea for everyone to have a prenup.  It doesn’t matter that you don’t have very many assets today.  During the course of the marriage you may end up accumulating significant resources.  A prenup can avoid bitter disputes over the division of this money.  If you are getting married, you should consider discussing a prenuptial agreement with an experienced attorney in order to plan for your future.

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