A prenuptial agreement, which is sometimes better known as a prenup, is a legal document created by a couple before they marry. Its purpose is to clarify in advance who has ownership of perspective property and what the financial rights of each spouse are in the event that the marriage fails. It is a very personal decision as to whether or not a couple should have a prenuptial agreement and is not something that should be entered into lightly.
There are, of course, many benefits to having a prenuptial agreement. It can help to reduce conflict during a divorce and help to avoid lengthy court proceedings and court costs. Prenuptial agreements can help to establish who is responsible for debt, such as mortgages and balances owed on student loans or credit cards. It can also help to make a distinction between a couple's marital property and their community property.
Although there are many benefits to having a prenuptial agreement, there are also some disadvantages as well. Discussing a prenuptial agreement with an intended spouse may potentially make the other person think that he or she already believes the marriage will fail. Couples may also not yet know the answers to some of the questions that may come up in a prenuptial agreement. When this is the case, a prenuptial agreement may not be a step a couple should take. If an agreement is reached after the marriage has taken place, however, it is still possible to create an agreement, but it will then be called a postnup.
Couples who are interested in learning more about prenuptial agreements may find it beneficial to discuss their situation with an experienced attorney.
Source: FindLaw, "How to Determine if a Prenuptial Agreement is Right for You," accessed April 22, 2015