Perhaps one of your Washington friends has told you that anyone who asks you sign a contract before getting married must not really trust you. Or, maybe you’ve always thought of such things as highly unromantic. You might be surprised to learn, then, that many couple say that signing a prenuptial agreement before their wedding day actually strengthened their relationship.

There are also many spouses who wind up in divorce court, only to be relieved and thankful that they had the insight to sign a prenup ahead of time. This is often especially true in cases where one or both spouses are business owners or have a high-net worth.

What exactly is contained in a prenuptial agreement?

Since every state has its own family law regulations, and each couple can customize a prenuptial agreement to fit their specific needs and goals, there’s no one answer to the question of what’s contained in a prenup. You might sign a premarital contract that looks quite different from one that your friend has signed.

A prenup basically states each member of couple’s rights and responsibilities regarding assets and debts. For instance, if you have $500,000 in the bank before you get married, you might want to incorporate language into your prenup that specifies separate ownership of these assets. If an asset is separately owned, it’s not subject to property division proceedings in a divorce.

Have you or your intended spouse been married to someone else in the past?

Signing a prenuptial agreement may be especially helpful if you or your partner have been married to another person in the past. If either (or both) of you have children, it’s only natural that you’d want to protect their interests as you make plans to start a new family.

Perhaps you’ve gone through a contentious divorce, particularly concerning property division, in the past. Requesting a prenup this time around might give you comfort and confidence that it won’t happen again.

More wealth or more debt

If you’re heading into marriage with more wealth than your partner, or he or she has more debt than you, it’s a good idea to suggest a prenuptial agreement. Washington is a community property state, which means all marital property and debt is typically split 50/50 in a divorce.

Signing a prenup helps protect your financial interests. You can include terms of agree