Number Of U.S. Prenuptial And Partnership Agreements Rising

prenupThe American is increasingly using premarital agreements (PA) across various demographics. One might attribute this to the high divorce rate in the U.S., but the more likely scenario is that a growing number of couples realize the numerous benefits these agreements provide.

Many individuals feel that PAs signify a lack of confidence in a relationship. Others believe that if true love is present, then a prenuptial agreement is never necessary. Both assumptions are incorrect. Prenups can help the wealthy and those with fewer assets, operate as an estate planning tool and can help set clear expectations for any relationship.

Doing Away With Prenuptial Stereotypes

Prenups are often thought of as a tool of the wealthy, not helpful to a traditional middle-class couple, and have also been deemed unromantic or impractical. However, a 2010 study conducted by Harris Interactive found that one-third of single adults would ask their partner to sign a prenup.

There are actually several reasons why a prenup may benefit even those of modest means:

  • Prenuptial agreements allow couples to override state property distribution laws, and couples should speak with a qualified divorce attorney to learn under which law their state operates.
  • Prenups can ensure one partner is not responsible for the other's premarital debt.
  • Prenups protect estate plans from taking priority over a spouse's demands.
  • If one spouse owns a business or inherits property from a family member, the prenup can ensure that ownership remains in his or her family.

Steps To Securing A Prenuptial Agreement

The first step toward securing a prenup is to speak with your partner openly and honestly about signing a premarital agreement. Many find that these discussions actually strengthen a relationship and help prepare them for marriage.

Some prenups are rejected by courts due to coercion. Prenups signed immediately before marriage or without the assistance of separate attorneys are at risk of having their agreements invalidated in court. Both partners should consult an attorney qualified to draft premarital agreements and should do so well in advance of finalizing a marriage.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, both partners must realize signing a prenuptial agreement is not due to a lack of trust or love. Rather, they provide stability and security should the unforeseeable occur down the road.

Anyone with questions about prenuptial (or antenuptial) agreements should contact a qualified family law attorney.