I'll say right off that it's probably true that most folks think a prenuptial agreement — or prenup, as they say in Hollywood — will kill the romance between a couple as surely as a an illicit affair. But does suggesting that your soon-to-be spouse sign a prenuptial agreement really spell the end of trust; Certainly not. Oddly, it may just make that bond even stronger. Rather than curse or jinx a pending marriage, a prenup should be looked at as helping to cement the relationship.
Contrary to popular belief, asking your future husband or wife to sign a prenuptial agreement should not be viewed as a sign of distrust, but as a mutual act of financial openness and faith in the enduring qualities of your relationship. As a Birmingham Divorce and Family Law Attorney, I've represented both women and men who have entered into a prenuptial agreement with a future marriage partner.
The trouble is that many people associate the mere mention of the prenup as a prelude to a bad marriage inevitably doomed to end in divorce. Because of this, it's really no surprise then that most folks, men and women alike, can be quite apprehensive about raising this topic with a future spouse. But there's really nothing to fret over.
First and foremost, a prenuptial agreement is a document created between future spouses prior to their exchange of marriage vows. An agreement of this type usually lists property settlements in the event of divorce, and could include other legal issues such as possible additional obligations that could arise during the marriage. In Alabama, the law requires that certain procedures as part of the process of forming a prenup, such as full financial disclosure between the two named parties. (It's important to remember that the law actually prohibits prenuptial agreements if they are not truthfully represented.)
While prenups have been tainted with bad press, thanks in part to those of the rich and famous who have included this legal document as a prerequisite to marriage, over time they have become more commonplace with mainstream Americans. Often created before first or subsequent marriages, they are a means of reassuring the soon-to-be spouses that each party's assets are protected. Prenuptial agreements can be used in the event of divorce, death, or to establish other postnuptial agreements.
More importantly, and something many people don't usually consider, is how useful a prenuptial agreement can be in the case of an impending second marriage. This is because there may be sizable assets from the previous marriage that the individual may want to retain sole ownership of — so she can pass those along to any children from the first marriage, for example.
Remember, a court can refuse to enforce portions of a prenuptial agreement, not to mention the entire document altogether, under certain circumstances such as if assets were hidden or if there is evidence that the agreement was created in haste.
As with any legal document — to ensure that your prenuptial agreement is valid and to be sure that your rights are protected — I highly recommend that each party consult with their own attorney prior to entering into the prenup. It may not be seem like the most romantic part of getting hitched, but it could very well make your future together that much more secure.