When people in Washington think about marriage, they may not consider that a prenuptial agreement is necessary for them. In the past, many people considered prenups to be a matter solely for celebrities or ultra-wealthy individuals with large family estates. However, an increasing number of people are moving toward choosing prenups for themselves, especially as people choose to marry later in life after they have already established careers or purchased property. Given that people often marry others at similar career points or socioeconomic standing as themselves, prenups can help to avoid more complicated issues later down the line.
Many prenuptial agreements focus on what property will be considered marital property and which will remain separate, for later potential distribution in a divorce. It can also contain arrangements for spousal support. While some people have steered clear of prenups because of their association with divorce, these agreements can also work alongside estate planning to lay out arrangements for assets in case of the death of one spouse. Prenups can be valuable for people who have investments, real estate or other significant property before they marry. In addition, people who come into the marriage with children of their own can also benefit from a prenup to help protect the financial rights or inheritances of their children for the future.
Prenuptial agreements are not designed simply to protect a wealthier spouse from a less wealthy spouse. In fact, to be upheld in court, both parties should be represented by a lawyer throughout the process, and the agreement should provide benefits to both.
A prenuptial agreement may seem like an unromantic start to a marriage, but may prevent far more serious difficulties later on, especially in case of divorce. A family law attorney might work with a spouse-to-be to negotiate a prenuptial agreement that reflects a fair solution.