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Why should you discuss a prenuptial agreement?

For many people, the concept of a prenuptial disagreement is one of distrust. However, bringing up a prenup to your future spouse doesn't have to be a sign that you don't trust him or her. Instead, a premarital agreement can be a way to work together to build even more trust and create a strong foundation for future communication and understanding.

Many reasons exist to bring up a prenup. A prenup helps you and your partner define how you will approach a variety of issues during marriage and can help ensure equality.

In some cases, one spouse plans to contribute in a non-financial way to both the marriage and the success of the other spouse. For example, one spouse may work to help put the other through graduate school. If that is the plan, then a prenup to protect the supporting spouse in the future may be a good idea -- the agreement would ensure the supporting spouse receives financial benefit from the sacrifice whether the marriage survives or not.

When either or both individuals come to the marriage with preexisting assets, a prenup can define how those assets will be handled. Perhaps the couple agrees that some or all of the assets become marital property. In other cases, each individual keeps his or her own assets regardless of what happens.

Other reasons to bring up a prenup can include the fact that one or both individuals has children from before the marriage or is likely to receive an inheritance of some time. Approaching a prenup with tact and understanding can help smooth the process, but it's important to remember that prenups are a legal tool. Creating a premarital agreement with legal authority is important; otherwise, the effort may be nullified at the point the agreement is most important.

Source: Equality in Marriage, "How and Why to Bring up a Prenup" accessed Feb. 10, 2015

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