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Prenuptial Agreements: Planning for a Successful Divorce?

Historically, prenuptial agreements have been cast in a negative light. From news programs to entertainment media, viewers could typically gain insight into an individual's personality by only hearing that he or she suggested a premarital document be signed. Is this negativity warranted?

A prenuptial agreement, often simply shortened to "prenup," is a marital document that helps a couple list and clarify certain assets and debts that each party is bringing into the marriage. Many people in decades past have questioned the spirit of the document by asking, why would you want to plan for your divorce even before your wedding?

Exactly. That's what you should be doing.

A recent Huffington Post piece suggests that the best way to avoid a messy, complicated divorce is by laying a solid, strategic foundation even before the marriage. A prenuptial agreement can be so much more than a list of assets and debts. A soon-to-be-married couple can use this type of contract to discuss nearly anything. From an agreement to attend marriage counseling before filing divorce papers to discussions about how to handle pet custody, a couple can explore numerous avenues. Of course, things such as child custody or child support arrangements cannot be included in a prenup.

Can a prenup be modified after marriage?

Typically, this document would then be called a post-nuptial agreement - as the marriage has already taken place. But, essentially, yes, the prenuptial document can be modified to include new assets, new debts and new agreements.

"For a successful divorce, think carefully before the marriage," writes Jim Halfens. Even though it might be unromantic to think this way, many successful marriages can be likened to a business. By keeping careful records and being honest about what could potentially happen in the future, a couple can avoid unnecessary difficulties should divorce become a reality.

Source: Huffington Post, "Plan For A Successful Divorce Before Your Wedding Day!", Jim Halfens, 7/22/2016

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