There is a stigma about prenuptial agreements (also known as prenups) for many reasons. It can come across that you’re too focused on your money or that you’re expecting to get divorced. As much as every couple wants to believe their marriage will stand the test of time, we all know that can’t be true for everyone. However, since many separations are the result of financial issues, figuring out how things will be handled and being on the same page ahead of time can actually improve your marriage in the long run. Additionally, prenuptial agreements can actually be useful in the unfortunate incident of a spouse passing away, which young couples plan for even less than divorce. The agreement particularly will come into play in regards to a family business or children from a previous relationship.
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As unromantic as it may seem, preparing for the worst-case scenario while the relationship is at its best can save a lot of heartache down the line. While no one enters marriage planning to divorce, it’s safe to say that most people would prefer an amicable separation over a contentious one, and a prenup can be extremely helpful in that regard. If any of the following factors apply to you, you may want to consider a prenuptial agreement: you own real estate, earn a large income, own or partially own a business, have an heir who is not your future spouse, or stand to inherit family wealth. If one or both of you has major debt, that can be a consideration as well.
If none of those instances apply, a younger couple preparing for their first marriage generally does not need to go through with a prenup – current laws involving marriage and assets will suffice. For those who decide to have an agreement made, it's best to get started at least six months before the wedding, although you can always have a postnuptial agreement if necessary. You should each have separate lawyers and may want to consider a mediator as well. Keep in mind that child support is not something that will be addressed, as that is determined by the courts.