The downsides of creating a prenuptial agreement

When a legal issue arises in your family, the best way you can protect yourself and the ones you love is by consulting a family law attorney who understands how to help you.

Almost every attorney will agree that in this modern age, it's an excellent idea for couples to sign a prenuptial agreement. However, if your attorney advises you to sign a prenup, he or she should also advise you of the potential downsides of this document.

In the interest of full disclosure, let's take a look at a few things you should be aware of before entering into a prenuptial agreement:

  • You might have to sign away your ability to receive part of your spouse's estate in the event that he or she dies. According to Colorado estate laws, even if a prenuptial agreement exists, you may still be able to inherit some of your spouse's estate, but a prenup will likely preclude you from receiving the lion's share of the estate.
  • You could lose the ability to receive part ownership of your spouse's business. Spouses play a strong role in the growth of a family business. For example, even if you're not involved in the daily running of your spouse's business, by entertaining guests and providing a shoulder to lean for your spouse, you're providing more support than you might realize. A prenuptial agreement could prohibit you from claiming the value of that contribution during a divorce.
  • A prenuptial agreement could make your marriage feel more businesslike as opposed to "romantic."
  • It's hard to predict what things will be like when you divorce. Perhaps you will be the "moneyed" spouse due to a successful business venture and your spouse will be the "lesser-moneyed" spouse -- or the other way around. Signing a prenuptial agreement, just like signing a marriage certificate, is a gamble -- you never know what things will be like in the future.

If you're trying to decide whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you, chances are that the document is a good idea for all spouses these days. However, before they sign on the dotted line, it's important that both sides of the prenuptial agreement understand what they're giving up and what they stand to gain in the event of a divorce.

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