When you meet the love of your life, everything seems rosy. You and your partner agree on just about everything: you've decided how many kids you want to have, and whether you want to live in the city or in the suburbs. Planning your life together seems easy.
However, prior to getting married, most couples fail to discuss some of the core issues that often lead to stress and turmoil in a marriage. And neglecting these issues until they become problems can be a fatal mistake in a marriage.
A prenuptial agreement doesn't have to be about planning out property division in anticipation of a divorce. It can actually serve as a valuable marriage failsafe. It gives couples an opportunity to iron out concerns or differing viewpoints that may not otherwise come to light until later on in the marriage. In this way, it can help prevent problems before they start.
Below are three key areas in which a prenuptial agreement can help mitigate marital stress:
· Finances: Money is the leading cause of stress in a marriage. Different approaches to saving and spending can quickly create problems, if not dealt with head-on. Your prenup can allow you and your partner to lay out the terms of your financial planning. It can prevent you from inheriting your spouse's $50,000 of student loan debt. It can also help you jointly decide on how you want to plan for your retirement or save for your children's education.
· Blended families: If you or your spouse are bringing children from a previous marriage into the family, then it may be worth figuring out how much each of you is expected to contribute to support them. If there are children with special needs in the equation, you may need to allow extra provisions for them.
· Future: You naturally enter into a marriage with the assumption that both of you will be around for decades to come. But what happens if one of you unexpectedly dies-or becomes ill or disabled? A prenup gives each of you the chance to designate a healthcare proxy and power of attorney-and take other steps to plan for the unexpected.
Remember, a prenup can be whatever you want it to be. You decide what goes in it-and what stays out. Above all, it's an agreement designed to preserve what matters most to you in your marriage.