Sitting down with an attorney to sign a premarital agreement may sound like the least romantic thing you could possibly do before getting married. But it may actually be one of the wisest things you can do for yourself and for your future spouse.
What is a premarital agreement?
A premarital agreement (sometimes called a prenuptial agreement or “prenup”) is similar to an insurance policy — it only exists to protect you in case the unthinkable might occur in the future. No one goes into a marriage with the intent that it will end, and creating a premarital agreement doesn’t mean you think that yours will.
A premarital agreement can protect you and your spouse in case your marriage becomes invalidated for any reason, or if you decide that you are best living separate lives. It can help you avoid expensive and stressful legal battles if your marriage ever ends. This is because you will have already decided on how to peacefully settle the biggest issues you would face if your marriage were to end.
Who should get a premarital agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a good option for couples who wish for an agreement that represents their own goals in case of divorce, rather than those set by the State. These agreements are a good idea, especially if you or your partner:
- Own real estate or any other important properties that you want to keep separate
- Have significant debt before marriage
- Need to define financial obligations towards parents, ex-spouse, or a child from a previous union
- Wish to make clear the new spouse’s rights and position in a personal/family business
- Want to determine how much and how long spousal support will be paid in case of divorce
- Want to maintain an inheritance as separate property
- Either is a stay-at-home parent and wants to ensure financial security
The “prenup” conversation
Many of our clients feel nervous about bringing this issue to their partners in the first place. But if you are considering getting a premarital agreement, the sooner you bring it up to your future spouse, the better. Weddings are already stressful, and waiting for too long to bring this discussion to the table could add unnecessary tension to your relationship.
Talk honestly with your partner about your concerns and explain why you think this is the best option for both. Remember that communication is one of the keys to a successful union. If you can have a healthy, honest, and mature conversation about this topic, it’s a good sign that you’ll have a very healthy marriage.
Getting a premarital agreement in Montana
It may seem tempting to try to draft a premarital agreement yourself or to use a boilerplate form you found on the internet. Don’t. Doing this can lead to increased legal costs and battles in the future if the agreement does not meet all of the law’s requirements.
If you’re planning to get married, make a plan to meet with an experienced attorney who can help protect you and your future spouse’s financial interests. Even if you’re looking to smash the record for the longest marriage in history, you would be wise to carry insurance in the form of a premarital agreement.
Do you need help? Call (406) 203-0913 to speak with an experienced attorney familiar with premarital agreements in Montana or contact our office online.
Marty is a former criminal prosecutor in the Cascade County Attorney’s Office and now uses that experience to defend those accused of crimes. A University of Montana School of Law graduate, Marty focuses his practice on personal injury and criminal defense and is a premier DUI defense attorney. He is also well versed in the insurance claims industry and has negotiated significant settlements with nearly every major insurance company.