In the words of rapper Kanye West, a prenuptial agreement, more commonly known as a “pre-nup,” is “something that you need to have.” There are many misconceptions about prenuptial agreements and the role they serve in marriages and the dissolution of the same. One of the most common inaccurate beliefs is that prenuptial agreements are only for people with a lot of wealth who want to make sure their soon-to-be spouse does not get much of it in case of a future divorce. The purpose of a prenuptial agreement is much broader and more widely applicable to persons from all walks of life and socioeconomic levels.

Why Should Everyone Consider a Pre-Nup?

So, what does a prenuptial agreement cover? A pre-nup is an agreement entered into between two potential spouses prior to marriage. It typically includes how the couple will handle all of their financial decisions and assets during the marriage, and how the same issues will be handled in case of divorce. A pre-nup will often include an agreement between the parties as to maintenance paid to one of the spouses post-divorce and how property will be divided. However, a pre-nup may NOT be used to determine child custody or child support payments.

Kanye also tells listeners of his song “Gold Digger” that when the spouse leaves, she’ll leave with half, is that true? Generally, without a pre-nup, that is a good possibility. Upon divorce, Kentucky courts equitably divide marital assets and debts, meaning property or debt that was acquired during the marriage by either party. As a general rule, each spouse can take from the marriage property that he or she owned prior to the marriage, but that’s not always easy to prove.

A Pre-Nup Doesn't Have to Kill the Romance

Won’t a pre-nup take the romance out of an engagement? It should not. In most cases, discussion of a pre-nup should in no way reflect on the trust and love between you and your future spouse. Discussing and planning for the joining of finances is not the most romantic topic and often a conversation people tend to avoid. Consequently, couples are often surprised to learn that their finances are a source of frustration and arguments in their marriage. Discussing finances prior to marriage allows couples to come to an understanding before tying the knot, which lessens the likelihood of later issues.

For a pre-nuptial agreement to be enforceable, certain conditions must be met. To ensure that a prenuptial agreement is enforceable and your rights are protected, you should consult with an experienced family law attorney who is knowledgeable about Kentucky prenuptial and marriage law.