They may not be especially romantic, but prenuptial agreements are becoming increasingly common in American society, and for good reason. While these legally binding agreements can benefit all couples if they divorce by simplifying the process and minimizing infighting, they may be of particular benefit to you if you are part of a same-sex couple, and here is why.
Same-sex marriage only became legal nationwide last year, granting couples - many of whom have been in committed relationships for years, decades or longer - the right to legally unite and reap the benefits of a marital union. Because many same-sex couples have been in long-lasting relationships without marrying, the chances of them having homes, well-established careers and other assets worth protecting in a prenuptial agreement are higher than in many traditional male-female relationships. This is also true when it comes to existing debts.
Furthermore, despite the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, one state does not necessarily have to recognize a same-sex marital union that took place in another state. In other words, the prenuptial agreement can establish protections for either party if the couple separates and one party moves to a state that does not recognize the original marriage. In addition to these specific benefits for same-sex couples, prenups can also be used to:
Outline how property will be divided in the event of divorce
Most people do not marry with the intention of one day separating, but it can happen nonetheless, and a prenuptial agreement can dramatically simplify the process. The agreement can make accommodations for the division of assets that reduces the time and money you would have to spend fighting your soon-to-be-ex spouse in court.
Stipulate specific agreements between partners
Prenuptial agreements can also be used to make specific determinations about the marriage. For example, you may want to include something in the agreement about what will happen if your partner is unfaithful to you, or how you would split parenting time if any children are in the picture or expected to enter the picture.
Protect any separately owned property you may have
Prenups are also often used to protect any existing property you may have before legally marrying. This property might include a house, car, inheritance, business assets and so on, and this protection is one of the most popular reasons couples cite for establishing prenups in the first place.
The stipulations outlined by a prenuptial agreement can be of benefit to all couples, and this is particularly true for those who have considerable individual assets heading into the marriage. If you are entering a same-sex marriage and want to find out more about how to protect yourself and your property, consider speaking with an attorney.