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Reasons to Consider a Prenuptial Agreement

Seattle & Tacoma Prenuptial Agreement

Every newly married couple imagines growing old together in happiness. Sadly, though, this doesn’t always pan out.

Even though you may not feel like broaching the subject of potential marital separation with your significant other, it might be important for you to consider protecting your assets, depending on your situation. Though it might sound a little unromantic, a prenuptial agreement could save you a lot of stress and uncertainty later on.

Reasons to Consider a Prenuptial Agreement

Prenuptial agreements aren’t necessary for every couple intending to marry. Generally, relationships in which neither spouse has significant assets don’t present the need for one.

However, a prenup may be appropriate where one or more of the following circumstances we discuss in this section applies.

Disparities in Earning Power

If you have a much bigger salary than your partner, or they have a much bigger salary than you, a prenuptial agreement can address the distribution of these earnings in the event of divorce. High earners typically try to protect their earnings in this scenario, but many make allowances for alimony or child support in the event children have been born by the time of the divorce.

Disparities in Existing Wealth

Remember, wealth isn’t just cash and property. Other assets, such as securities, jewelry, vehicles, art, or anything else with an appreciable value may be up for grabs in a divorce.

Because assets like these aren’t liquid (you can’t easily convert them into cash), dividing them can be a headache when a marital separation is already underway. Deciding how you might split your assets while you’re happily together can avoid a lot of stress later on.

Disparities in Debt

When you think of prenuptial agreements, your first instinct might be to imagine the protection of assets. However, debt can be just as important to consider, particularly if there’s a lot of it. If you marry someone who’s in a large amount of debt without a prenuptial agreement, you might be left responsible for the payment of some (or all) of that debt in the event of divorce.

The average American in their thirties now has over $26,500 in non-mortgage debt on average, according to, so this is something that’s worth taking into account for many couples.

Previous Marriages

Prenuptial agreements can help those entering second marriages to clearly delineate the assets and financial obligations related to that prior relationship and keep them separate from the new marital estate. This may be particularly helpful if there are children from the previous relationship.

Business Interests

In the context of business interests, prenuptial agreements are instrumental in clarifying the ownership and control of business assets before marriage. This ensures that the business remains unaffected by personal relationship dynamics, protecting it from potential division or claims in the event of a divorce. The failure to take this precaution can result in major disruption to business operations if there are disputes around the ownership or chain of command of a business post-separation.

Estate Planning Issues

Prenuptial agreements can include provisions specifying how assets will be distributed in the event of death. This can help to prevent future legal disputes among heirs or between surviving spouses and children from different marriages.

Arrangements Regarding Childcare

According to a Gitnux report, almost 50% of children in the U.S. will see a parent divorce in their lifetime. If you have kids, or you think you might have them in the future, it’s worth considering them in your prenuptial agreement.

Your prenup can detail the financial responsibilities you and your spouse will take on in relation to any of your current or future children. This can include agreements on child support, education costs, and other childcare expenses.

What Are Community Property Laws?

The state of Washington has what are known as “community property” rules, as do eight other states. When a couple marries, the law regards all the property each partner previously held individually as being communally owned, per Chapter 26.16 of the Revised Code of Washington (RCW). So, in the event of a divorce without a prenuptial agreement, assets will generally be divided equally between each spouse.

There are certain limited exceptions to community property rules. For example, if you were married in a state without community property rules and you moved to Washington before getting divorced, any property you or your spouse acquired separately before moving to Washington will not fall under the scope of community property here.

There are also some types of assets that Washington authorities may not consider community property, such as gifts to one spouse, items purchased before marriage, and inheritances. However, the rules here aren’t set in stone; if separate assets are commingled with community property, they may become part of that community property.

To get a better idea of how these rules will apply to your case, you’ll need to visit a Washington family lawyer for a consultation.

What Happens If I Don’t Sign a Prenuptial Agreement?

If you choose not to enter into a prenup, Washington’s laws will determine the division of assets and debts between you and your partner in the event of your divorce. If you can’t come to an agreeable compromise, you may need to leave important decisions about your property, debts, alimony, and child custody in the hands of the courts.

A prenup will allow you to predetermine these matters, providing clarity, protection, and peace of mind.

How Do Postnuptial Agreements Work?

If you’re already married and you’re wondering whether you should have opted for a prenup while reading this, there’s no need to worry. A postnuptial agreement is largely the same as a prenup, except it’s signed after a wedding has already taken place.

Couples often choose to enter into postnuptial agreements if their shared financial situation changes drastically during their marriage. It’s possible to change the terms of an existing prenup by signing a new postnuptial agreement.

Contact Us Today

If you are engaged and have any questions regarding prenuptial agreements or any other type of family law matter, please do not hesitate to contact the Dickson Legal Group to discuss your situation. Please call to schedule a consultation in Seattle at (206) 621-1110 or in Tacoma at (253) 572-1000 today.