Why a prenuptial agreement can help couples avoid divorce

Arguing about money is one of the most common causes of divorce

Prenuptial agreements may not have the best reputation when it comes to romance, but, according to USA Today, they could be a helpful tool for newly married couples looking to avoid divorce. While prenuptial agreements are common in marriages where one spouse has significantly more assets than the other spouse, they have the potential to benefit all couples. With recent studies showing that financial disagreements are a major cause of divorce, a prenuptial agreement could be the best way to avoid conflict and marital breakdown later on.

Who needs a prenup?

A prenuptial agreement is a "must-have" when one spouse is bringing significantly more assets into a new marriage than the other spouse. Without a prenuptial agreement in place, the person with more assets is financially exposed should the marriage eventually fail. While prenuptial agreements can sometimes be challenged, they offer a significant level of protection against the financial damage that a divorce can sometimes cause.

According to Business Insider, however, even in marriages where both spouses have an equal number of assets, a prenuptial agreement is highly useful. Drafting a prenuptial agreement requires honest and open communication by both spouses and that process can reveal important information about each spouse's attitude towards money.

Financial disagreements

After all, couples who are financial equals may nonetheless disagree about money and finances. A study by Kansas State University found that financial disagreements in marriage are more likely to lead to divorce later on. Some financial issues, unfortunately, only become apparent after the wedding, by which time they have the potential to cause significant damage to a marriage.

Spouses may have very different attitudes about debt, for example, with one spouse prone to making big impulse purchases while the other tends to be more frugal. When bank accounts and credit cards become mingled, these attitudes can lead to severe disagreements and can signal an end to marital bliss. The advantage of a prenuptial agreement is that issues like debt and joint bank accounts are discussed before the marriage contract is signed, allowing couples to hammer out these difficult issues early on.

Drafting an agreement

One of the biggest issues facing many prenuptial agreements, however, concerns how enforceable such agreements are. A prenuptial agreement must comply with specific state laws that most people without a legal education are unlikely to be familiar with. A couple looking to draft a prenuptial agreement should always consult with a family law attorney throughout the process. A dedicated attorney can help ensure that such an agreement is in full compliance with the law and addresses any important areas that may have otherwise been overlooked by a couple.

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