You may have heard the term 'prenuptial agreement' being thrown around or your partner has suggested that you have one. In case you are wondering what that is, read on to find out everything you need to know
What it is
Commonly referred to as a prenup, a prenuptial agreement is a written contract you and your partner sign before getting married. It includes a guide for the division of assets, debts and responsibilities in the case of a divorce or legal separation.
In simple terms, couples sign prenups to make their own rules, contrary to the default marital law for divorce set by their country. This, in general, gives you protection if your marriage ends and saves you a lot of expenses too.
In Kenya, unlike the West, prenups are not common. As a result, there is a lot of misinformation which has led to several myths and misconceptions, some of which are listed below.
It only involves wealthy couples
Any couple can sign a prenuptial agreement and it does not have to be a wealthy one. The purpose of a prenup is to avoid future financial disagreements between couples.
It is a sign of mistrust between partners
Prenups require couples to put all cards on the table. The process involves full honesty and open communication between partners. Instead of sparking mistrust, a prenup can spark deep conversations that in turn build trust.
It is only relevant in the event of a divorce
Though prenups come in handy during divorces, they are also useful in other instances. For example in instances where a couple is entering marriage with children from another marriage, the prenup can help protect the children's inheritance, if any, from the other marriage so that it is not counted as marital property.
Prenups should be an agreement between couples. Both you and your partner should be sure that this is what you want. Plan ahead, discuss openly how it will affect your relationship and if it is really necessary. This contract requires deep conversations about money and assets that you and your partner should be willing to have.
Get a legal adviser
Both you and your partner need separate legal advice from a family lawyer when you decide to sign a prenup. You should be informed of the rights you have and those you don't for the contract to be legally binding. A statement from the lawyer that states each party's rights should also be signed and presented.
When signing a prenup, both parties need to fully state their assets to ensure fairness and success of the contract. Let your partner in on future inheritances and business plans. Overall, being open and honest is what matters when it comes to prenups.
A prenup is important to avoid log and tedious court processes in case of a divorce. However, before you sign a prenuptial agreement, find out if it's necessary for your relationship, learn about what the law in your country says about prenups, ensure that your partner is comfortable with it and most importantly, seek the counsel of a certified and qualified legal professional.