Marriage is a joyous occasion and an integral part of the Jewish life cycle. While it’s easy to get caught up in dreams of the future and starting a family, it’s important for young couples to step back and make serious considerations before exchanging vows.
Here are three reasons to consider a prenuptial agreement.
1. Protecting Pre-Marital Financial Assets and Businesses
One of the most basic yet important reasons to consider a prenuptial agreement is to protect pre-marital businesses and/or financial assets.
The bride or the groom may hold a financial interest in a family business, which can be protected through this type of agreements. Family gifts and inheritances can also be protected through a prenup, although some states automatically count these items as non-marital property.
If you or your spouse-to-be has financial assets or a business, it may be worthwhile considering a prenuptial agreement.
Couples may also consider keeping marital and non-marital assets separate to better support the prenuptial agreement. For instance, inheritances may be kept in separate accounts and spent on personal items only.
Protection of financial assets is the primary reason couples consider a prenup, but it’s not the only one.
2. Outlining Family Expectations
A prenuptial agreement can also be used to clarify and outline family expectations.
According to Kathy Newman Law, a firm that specializes in prenuptial agreements, couples can detail important family expectations prior to tying the knot through a prenup.
Even if both parties are Jewish, certain aspects of Judaism which are important in raising children can be included in the agreement. The couple may choose to detail whether the chlid will attend religious school, whether a bar/bat mitzvah will be held, or whether the child will attend a certain synagogue.
Setting expectations in the form of an agreement can help a couple make future decisions even if the marriage ends. If a couple agrees that the child will have a bar mitzvah, for example, it can be outlined in the agreement and adhered to after the divorce.
3. Avoiding Conflicts Should Divorce Occur
When a couple walks down the aisle, the last thing on their minds is divorce. When you say “I do,” your intention is to stay with your partner for life. However, life is rarely predictable. People change, desires change and expectations may also change.
A prenuptial agreement can help a couple avoid conflict if divorce appears to be the best course of action to take. While a prenup cannot detail child custody or support issues, it can detail how assets are divided and how the proceedings will be handled. If the couple has a clear understanding of how things will proceed, it can help move the divorce process along more smoothly.
Before a prenuptial agreement can be executed, a couple must disclose all income, liabilities and assets. This disclosure must be accurate and complete for the agreement to stand in court. Each party must also have a lawyer, and everyone must be on the same page when it comes to negotiations to ensure everyone understands what they are signing.
A prenuptial agreement may not be right for every couple, but it’s a smart choice for many. Whether the bride or groom wants to protect assets or the couple wants to make sure they’re in agreement when raising the child, a prenup ensures that can everyone move forward with the same expectations.