Prenups: To Sign or not to Sign?

It seems that in every romance-based sitcom and TV drama, there comes a time when the leading, newly-engaged couple reaches an inevitable fight: one partner asks the other to sign a prenuptial agreement and the other is outraged. While this derivative plotline may be overdone, it does raise an important question. Before marriage, is it better to sign a prenup or not to sign?

A prenuptial agreement, often known as a prenup, is a contract that partners enter into prior to marriage which generally includes guidelines for how property will be divided and spousal support will be administered in case of divorce. It sets the terms for how assets, property, and future earnings will be distributed if the marriage is to end.

Although some view prenuptial agreements as the antithesis of romance, they offer individuals who are getting married security. Legally speaking, they provide a way to define and protect your separate property, support your estate plan, reduce issues and save money in the event of divorce, arrange any special agreements, and establish ground rules for deciding future matters.

But aside from the potential legal benefits for you and your partner, signing a prenup can help couples get to know each other’s preferences better and encourage important discussion of financial issues. It’s important to make sure that whatever prenup you sign fairly reflects both parties’ interests, and that you know what you are signing. But don’t let the TV drama over these contracts be a deterrent—prenups can work to anyone’s benefit, by providing couples with an extra shield of protection.

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