Prior to getting married, it may be worthwhile for a couple to consider creating and signing a prenuptial agreement. Although the conversation may be difficult to have, it can protect assets or act as an estate planning tool even if the couple doesn't have or plan on having children or grandchildren. For those who may be bringing a higher percentage of assets into a marriage, it may be useful in protecting those assets.
If an individual remarries, it may be possible for a prenuptial agreement to state that the new spouse has no rights as a beneficiary to retirement or other accounts. This ensures that a previous spouse or another intended beneficiary gets the money instead. It can also be used to determine who may manage a business that one or both spouses may own or how investment accounts will be managed.
Prenuptial agreements are also useful because they disclose the full assets, debts and liabilities of each partner. Full financial disclosure prior to a marriage may help strengthen the relationship or make it easier to split property in a divorce. When a couple does get married, the agreement may outline what is to be considered marital property and what percentage of those assets each party may be entitled to in the event of a divorce.
When a couple divorces, property division may be made easier with a prenuptial agreement. During the divorce, it may be worthwhile to have an attorney review the agreement to ensure that it is valid. If it is, the divorce settlement may be relatively easy to finalize. If it is not, an attorney may be able to assist an estranged spouse in getting what he or she may be entitled to in accordance with state law.