While prenuptial agreements are commonplace in tabloid marriages, they can be of benefit for many engaged couples, maybe even you. Asking for a prenuptial agreement may be an uncomfortable conversation, but it may save a great deal of headache and heartache down the road. Furthermore, a prenuptial agreement can actually strengthen a marriage when both partners understand their financial situations. This important understanding can have benefits that outweigh the uncomfortable conversation. Even if you are not a celebrity, billionaire, or heir to a fortune, any person who brings personal or business assets into a marriage can benefit from a prenup. As well, older couples may want a prenuptial contract to protect children from a prior marriage or protect the assets of the wealthier spouse in the event the one with less assets enters into a nursing home. Here are a few details of prenuptial agreements to help decide if one may be right for you.

The most basic prenup contract lists an inventory of premarital property that will remain with the original owner after a divorce. It also details to whom future assets and income belong, except for property that is intentionally held jointly. These details often include an alimony waiver that is valid no matter the needs of either spouse. Beyond these basic details, there is a lot of flexibility in these contracts. The only thing off limits is you cannot limit child support, custody, or visitation. This flexibility can be both good and bad. The good news is you can do almost anything you want in a prenup, but they can end up being quite harsh, and they often end up going beyond the issues the parties wish to address.

Not everyone needs a prenuptial agreement. The most common people in this catehory are young couples, both starting first marriages, with few assets and no large inheritances or trusts from their families. Even if you do not fall into this category, marital laws may be enough for you to avoid a prenup. Marital laws provide protection in the form of fair, sensible resolutions of financial issues in most situations that might occur over a long marriage. For instance, these laws ensure a spouse has some share in a deceased partner’s estate, even without the benefit of being mentioned in the will. If you do not need to isolate inheritance or premarital assets, marital laws may provide all the protection that you need.

If you decide against a prenuptial agreement, you can still create a similar contract after your wedding day. Like prenups, postnuptial agreements describe which assets will remain individual property and which will be shared. As long as both spouses have representation by a lawyer and all assets have been disclosed, a postnuptial agreement will be upheld in court.

For more information on prenuptial agreements, please seek the advice of a trusted lawyer, or see our additional resources below.

- Pros and Cons: Premarital Agreements ("Prenuptials")
- Why engaged couples should sign a prenup
- Prenuptial Agreements -- An Overview
- Make your Free Prenuptial Agreement
- Is a Prenup a Must for Most Couples?
- Free Prenuptial Agreement