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Wisconsin Family Law Articles
Prenuptial Agreement

My Partner Wants a Prenuptial Agreement. Should I Be Worried?

When making plans to get married, the last thing you might expect is for your partner to bring up a prenuptial agreement. If they have never raised the topic before, your first thought might be: Should I be worried? The good news is there are ways to navigate this issue with your future spouse successfully.

Understanding the Why

When asked to sign a prenup agreement your immediate reaction may have been to feel insulted or hurt.  It’s understandable, especially if the request came out of nowhere. It may help you to stop and consider the facts before drawing any conclusions. If everything else in your relationship is going well, your partner asking for a prenup may not be cause for alarm.

As a married couple you will have to work through issues and communicate, and resolving this matter should not be any different. A prenup is a good opportunity to begin discussions about something that is important: finances. The two of you should be able to have an open and honest discussion about the document and its significance. You can also use this opportunity to let your partner know how you feel about the subject and the way they broached it. As the two you discuss the document, you can work towards finding a way that you can both be comfortable moving forward.

The Possible Reasons

Although many people associate prenuptial agreements with protecting extreme wealth, prenups can be used for many purposes. Sometimes prenups protect other people, like children from a previous marriage, or elderly parents.   They can also be used to safeguard a family business, to ensure continuity.  It’s also true that prenups can protect the wealth that one partner may have accumulated prior to the marriage, while the other partner may bring only debt.  If there is an age disparity between the couple, it’s not unreasonable to provide some parameters for division of assets or income in case of death or divorce that may differ that what the statutes provide.  

Being Fair to Each Other

After discussing the matter and gaining insight into your partner's reasoning, you may feel more comfortable with the concept of a prenuptial agreement. Another issue for the two of you to consider is creating a contract that protects you both. Although you may not have the same concerns, having a prenuptial agreement that is fair to you and looks out for your best interests as well as your partner’s, is essential. You and your partner should be able to work cooperatively to create a contract that honors your relationship but also protects your financial well-being.

The Contents of the Agreement

Prenuptial agreements are legally binding under Wisconsin law as long as they follow certain protocols.  Some matters can be agreed upon in the prenup, such as how property and assets will be divided, and whether alternative dispute resolution will be used in case of conflict. However, some issues can't be decided in this type of agreement. For instance, prenuptial agreements can't determine child custody or placement, or the amount of child support that one parent will pay the other. You are going to want to work with an experienced Wisconsin family law attorney on any proposed prenuptial agreement before signing. Your counsel can review the contents and help you consider and evaluate terms.

Consult with an Experienced Wisconsin Family Law Attorney

Attorney and Mediator Karyn Youso of First Look Family Law has experience helping clients evaluate their family law circumstances, including the use of prenuptial agreements.  She understands the complexities of life before, during, and after divorce, and can help you access the resources you need at every stage.

Come in and let us take a “first look” at your situation so you can figure out your next steps. Please contact us today to set up a time to meet.