You may not want to talk about a prenuptial agreement with your future spouse. It is understandable that it may be a difficult conversation with someone you love.

However, a properly written prenuptial agreement can spare both parties emotional pain and stress when the marriage ends, whether due to death or divorce. It does not eliminate the possibility of conflict, but it can reduce it substantially and offer multiple benefits.

Protect children of a former spouse

If you and/or your future spouse have children from previous marriages, a prenuptial agreement can protect their rights and avoid confusion. Your former spouse may have intended for them to inherit certain assets, but if these assets are still under your control when you enter another marriage, this can cloud the issue without a prenup.

Protect your spouse from assuming your debts

If you have significant debts, you may wish to make it clear that your future spouse is not responsible for them. You should take specific steps to avoid having creditors attempt to seize their assets to settle your debts. Of course, this works the other way around as well; you may need a prenuptial agreement to protect you from debts your future spouse has already accumulated.

Protect yourself from excessive spousal support

Spousal support (alimony) protects the income and lifestyle of a divorced spouse. If you both have high levels of assets or income, it is important that you agree on a reasonable level of income to maintain one spouse or the other if a divorce occurs.

The higher your income disparity, the more likely there is to be a significant dispute over spousal support. While alimony was traditionally awarded to women in the past, the increasing financial independence of women has made this a potential issue for both spouses.

Without a prenuptial agreement, it can be more painful and costly to litigate the issues when a marriage ends in death or divorce. Plan ahead and have the difficult conversations with your future spouse now.