Is a prenuptial agreement right for you?

Date: Mar 12, 2012

Planning a life together has been described by many as one of the most thrilling and romantic moves in any relationship.

However, there are a number of different views on just how this should occur - with the topic of prenuptial agreements causing a certain amount of confusion and debate.

On one hand, some people view the idea of prenups as being something of a 'mood-killer' - that by focusing on property and finances the couple are in some way detracting from the joy shared.

The argument usually goes that by moving to protect assets in the event of a relationship breakdown, the partners are forced to entertain the prospect of a failed relationship sometime in the future.

In particular, younger couples in their first long-term partnership will find this viewpoint upsetting, as it may feel that focusing on this negative possibility robs the act of marriage of its romance - making it more akin to a commercial transaction.

However, more experienced couples will understand that prenuptial agreements ultimately exist to protect each other's interests and that this ideal is compatible with their desire to enter into a committed relationship.

It could be that these partners have gone through a relationship breakdown before and know the value of family law advice, as well as the ability to legally separate possessions with a minimum of arguments.

From a different viewpoint, more mature partners tend to have more in the way of assets before they enter into a relationship - having been able to purchase property, collect share portfolios and business interests, as well as a range of other financial tools.

Conversely, a prenup also can help to keep outstanding debts separate - meaning that the partners involved in a relationship will not be required to cover each other's financial obligations should they choose to part ways.

On top of this, previous partnerships may have produced children that need to be considered in any financial planning operations undertaken by the people responsible for their care.

With prenuptial agreements, arrangements can be made that take these points into account - while they do not relate directly to child custody provisions, they do help to ensure that the parents are able to access their own assets in the event of a separation.

In essence, a prenup is a contract based on the complete trust of the two partners who are called on to be honest about their expectations and commit to a legal plan of action.