For the most part, anyone who is familiar with prenuptial and postnuptial agreements will usually concede that they don’t match the fairytale romance stories we construct in our minds: what’s yours is mine, happily ever after. In reality, this reality check is a good thing, considering that around half of all marriages end in divorce.
Preparing for the worst-case scenario is a part of life. While it feels better in the moment to turn a blind eye to the more uncomfortable possibilities, such as a marriage ending in divorce, none of us can predict the future. Clinging to fantasies can result in some of the messiest divorces when things end up taking a turn for the worst and shattering our own illusions.
Prevent a disastrous divorce
Signing a prenup is a very responsible action to take before walking down the aisle. It’s good to think of it this way: it’s less about not trusting your spouse, and more about protecting yourself down the road.
A prenup removes the potential for confusing, drawn-out battles when property, resources, and other assets begin to blend together. For people who never drew a distinction between whose property is whose, you might even risk losing half or more of what you own if you and your spouse decide to divorce.
By signing a prenup, you and your spouse draw boundaries of ownership, what will happen to certain assets, and enable yourself to return to your life as a single person without cutting as many losses.
Postnuptial agreements are another alternative
Postnuptial agreements, although less set in stone at first than a prenup, can accomplish similar goals if a prenup was never signed but a couple wishes to set up the same contract.
Postnups must be executed with equal agreement from both parties and without disproportionate coercion from one on the other, and there are limitations, but ultimately, a postnup is just as strong of an option.
Postnups can even rescue a marriage. Since communication problems and disagreements over money are two common reasons for divorce, a postnup might help solve a dispute or create new peace of mind where communication was failing.
Consider your financial standings
Ultimately, a prenup might be the better option if you’re heir to wealth, or already have a high net worth before coming into the marriage. This is because after assets become marital property, a postnup would require agreement to the standards of ownership you’d like to set, whereas a prenup allows you to claim full ownership over certain assets before it becomes community property.
Consult a divorce attorney for info about how to interpret and employ your prenuptial or postnuptial agreement if you and your spouse are considering divorce.