A common question I get is “why do I need a premarital agreement? Isn’t that just me telling my partner that I already don’t trust that this marriage is going to work from the start?” No. People often think that premarital agreements only deal with what happens to your property after separation. While it does deal with this issue, there are other things to consider before you get married. Do you already own property? If so, is your name on the title? What do you do with any rental income you could make off of that property? Do you make more money than your spouse? If you do, do you want to support them if the marriage doesn’t work out? Who do you want in your will?
Another big concern for people that is often not considered until after their nuptials is “I have kids from a previous relationship, how can I make sure they are protected?” Well if this story speaks to you and you aren’t married yet, then it is best to address this now in a premarital agreement. If it speaks to you now but you are already married again, never fear. There are typically other options for taking care of your children after a second marriage, including the creation of a will or trust, which can help to protect them.
People have also asked “can we set out the terms of child support in case we decide to have children after we get married but then separate?” The answer is you can, but the court is not bound by that arrangement. So if you think that you both can contract for $1.00 per month for whoever gets custody for the rest of their lives then think again because the court will most definitely modify that. As a practical matter we would also advise against that because what if you lose your job? What if you get demoted? What if you change jobs and make less? Then, what if the court decides to honor your arrangement even though you lost your job? Including this term is a very big gamble and not one that we advise taking.
As you can see, there are already so many questions about your marriage and so many more that need to be addressed before you say your vows. Are you willing to leave these issues to chance?