Contrary to popular opinion, prenups are not just for the rich. While prenups are often used to protect the assets of a wealthy fiancé, couples of more modest means are increasingly turning to them for their own purposes. Here are some reasons that some people want a pre-marital agreement:
Pass separate property to children from prior marriages. A marrying couple with children from prior marriages may use a prenup to spell out what will happen to their property when they die, so that they can pass on separate property to their children and still provide for each other, if necessary. Without a prenup, a surviving spouse might have the right to claim a large portion of the other spouse's property, leaving much less for the kids.
Clarify financial rights. Couples with or without children, wealthy or not, may simply want to clarify their financial rights and responsibilities during marriage.
Avoid arguments in case of divorce. They may want to avoid potential arguments if they ever divorce, by specifying in advance how their property will be divided, and whether or not either spouse will receive spousal maintenance.
Get protection from debts. Prenups can also be used to protect spouses from each other's debts, and they may address a multitude of other issues as well.
Settling a divorce, like almost any other dispute, has an aspect of horse-trading about it, especially when it comes to the property aspects. If you let your spouse take the expensive stereo system that she spent so much time assembling, she may be more likely to agree that you can have the computer you have been sharing. That type of quid pro quo won't apply as much to issues relating to your children, of course.
Negotiating agreements isn't always linear. You may start at what feels like the end, and you may find yourself needing to gather still more information at various points in the process. A mediator can help you to stay on track and brainstorm options, will encourage you and your spouse to express your opinions, positions, and what's important to you, and will help you to listen to each other in ways that will make a resolution more likely.
Understanding your spouse's position doesn't mean you have to agree with it. But it's possible that once you do understand what your spouse's real concerns are, you will have new ideas about how to resolve things. Your efforts at understanding will encourage your spouse to do the same, and you are more likely to reach a solution that works for you if your spouse really understands what is important to you.
Being open to compromise means that you are not attached to one particular solution, you can't just put your idea on the table and expect your spouse to accept it. A compromise that works is one that takes both of your interests into account. Consider the possibility that your spouse might have valid ideas as well, and take the time to think them through instead of rejecting them out of hand.
Post-Marital Agreements can be achieved during a marriage or post marriage after your divorce is finalized.