In this video, family law attorney Kevin O'Flaherty answers the questions “can a prenuptial agreement lead to a stronger marriage?”, and “how can a prenuptial agreement help a marriage succeed?”
In this article...

In this article, we will answer the questions “can a prenuptial agreement lead to a stronger marriage?”, and “how can a prenuptial agreement help a marriage succeed?”

In this article, we will answer the questions “can a prenuptial agreement lead to a stronger marriage?”, and “how can a prenuptial agreement help a marriage succeed?”

For more foundational information on prenuptial agreements, check out our article: Illinois Prenuptial Agreements Explained

Can a Prenuptial Agreement Lead to a Stronger Marriage?

The short answer is, yes.  There are many benefits to having a prenuptial agreement.  In fact, prenups have grown in popularity over the last twenty years and are still on the rise.  More than one-third of the “millennial” generation grew up with divorced or separated parents, which could be one of the reasons more couples are getting prenups or waiting until their thirties to get married.  However, despite the surge in popularity, you should approach the topic delicately if you want a prenuptial agreement that leads to a stronger marriage.  For more information, see our article entitled How To Bring Up a Prenuptial Agreement With Your Future Spouse. 

How Can a Prenuptial Agreement Help a Marriage Succeed?

Here are a few ways that a prenup can help you lay the groundwork for a successful marriage:

  1. Communication between parties.  Finances and communication are frequent contributors to the breakdown of a marriage.  If you and your partner decide to take a closer look at a prenuptial agreement and the issues it can address, you open the door to a calm and thoughtful discussion about sensitive subjects while your relationship is healthy and thriving.  

       Topics that can be resolved in a prenup include:

  • Payments of alimony, and if so, the amount and duration of these payments from one spouse to another
  • Distribution of assets and debt, should the union end in divorce
  • Ownership and use of property upon divorce
  • Issues related to the ownership of death benefits from either spouse’s life insurance policy
  • Agreements to execute wills and trusts to distribute assets in a particular manner upon death, including the allocation of assets to children of a previous marriage
  • Any other issues for which two people can legally contract

It is common for some or all of the subjects listed above to be difficult to approach, but discussing them sooner rather than later in your engagement can be a recipe for success. When it comes to building a strong partnership, it is never too early to communicate your values and talk about the future.

  1. Adding security.  Psychologically, determining what is most important to you as a couple can offer a sense of security in the days leading up to the wedding, as well as after you have tied the knot.  Neither you nor your partner will be expecting the marriage to fail when you get engaged, but accounting for assets and how they will be divided while your relationship is flourishing can provide comfort and allow you to take positive, reassuring steps toward a bright future.  If you have children from a previous relationship, a prenuptial agreement will allow you designate which assets go to whom in the event of divorce or death.  Remember that prenups are not one-sided; they should protect all of your loved ones.
  1. Build your prenup together.  Creating a prenuptial agreement with your partner can be a way to build a foundation together before the two of you are legally bound.  In that way, a prenup can also reinforce your decision to wed, especially if you have already gone through a messy divorce.  If you were once married or decided to postpone marriage until you and your partner saved up some cash, it is likely that each of you have spent a significant period of time in the workforce, and therefore have more assets you each want protected.  Regardless of your reasons, keep in mind that both partners need to agree to the contract in writing and be comfortable with the terms.  With the right attitude, a prenuptial agreement can set you on the path to a successful and healthy marriage.
November 16, 2020
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