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Reasons to consider a prenuptial agreement prior to saying I do

Many engaged couples become consumed by the wedding planning process. While ensuring for a memorable and special day to commemorate a couple's union is important to many engaged couples, many fail to address important matters related to finances and property.

Today, more U.S. men and women are putting marriage on hold until later in life. The lives of individuals in their 30s or 40s are very different from that of individuals fresh out of college. In addition to life experience, men and women in their 30s and 40s may own a home or property. Additionally, individuals who marry later in life are likely to be more financially stable and have considerably more assets than those in their 20s. For these reasons, many U.S. couples who plan to marry would be wise to consider a prenuptial agreement.

Previously, prenuptial agreements were often regarded as being necessary for only the very wealthy. Today, views related to prenuptial agreements are changing and many individuals now view these legal agreements as a smart and responsible way to protect property and assets brought to a marriage.

Despite the practicality of a prenuptial agreement, it's possible a betrothed may still balk or take offense when broached about the subject. For couples struggling to come to a consensus about a prenuptial agreement, communication is key. Both spouses should take time to contemplate and voice their opinions and concerns. If a couple decides to move forward with a prenuptial agreement, it's important to know what can and cannot be accomplished via a prenup.

Most couples use a prenuptial agreement to protect and preserve ownership over assets brought to a marriage. This includes a home, property and personal possessions. Some individuals also choose to add language related to child-rearing matters or a spouse's potential infidelity.

A prenuptial agreement cannot be used to force a spouse to adhere to unrealistic terms related to weight restrictions or sexual activity. The legal document also cannot protect property or assets that an individual failed to fully disclose prior to a marriage or stipulate matters related to child or spousal support that are dictated by state laws.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "For Love or for Money: Should You Get a Prenup?," Ginger Dean, April 25, 2014

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