Getting married is an exciting time in your life. For same-sex couples, who received the right to marry through a 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision, getting married is seen as a victory: They now receive the same rights as other couples entering into marriage.
Yet, same same-sex couples may have more reason to sign a prenuptial agreement than other couples. Here are some reasons for that:
1. How long same-sex partners have been a couple and what assets they acquired together
Some same-sex couples marrying in Pennsylvania may have been couples a long time, sometimes more than a decade. They may have bought a home together, even though they weren’t married. Maybe only one person is on the title and loan documents. Before a same-sex couple ties the knot, engaged partners may want to establish what assets they’ve acquired together in a prenuptial agreement. Then, the couple could decide how to split those assets as marital property in divorce through their prenup. A couple also can decide how they will split the debts they accumulated together before marriage if they divorce.
Same-sex couples also may want to address the issue of spousal support in a prenuptial agreement. For example, one partner may have taken time away from their career over the last five years to raise the couple’s children. If the couple then marries after that five years, the stay-at-home partner may not receive the spousal support they deserve a few years later without a prenuptial agreement.
Of course, heterosexual couples who cohabited for years before marrying may face some of these same issues in divorce without a prenuptial agreement.
2. If a same-sex couple had children before they married
For same-sex couples who had children before they married, the partner who is not the child’s biological parent should consider adopting the child. If that hasn’t happened, you and your soon-to-be spouse may want to use a prenuptial agreement to lay out how you will handle child custody in divorce.
If you are considering creating a prenuptial agreement before your same-sex marriage, you should consult a family law attorney. An attorney can help you navigate difficult aspects of the law that relate to same-sex couples and make suggestions on what to include in your prenup.
You may be wary of creating a prenuptial agreement. However, for same-sex couples, a prenuptial agreement can relieve a lot of stress down the road and become the glue that keeps things together when life changes quickly or unexpectedly.