Should I get a prenup? Many couples find themselves facing this question. If you’re very wealthy, have had previous marriages, or have children going into the marriage then it may make sense speak with a family law attorney regarding a prenuptial agreement. However, there are many other couples who should be considering a prenup. Even the young, individuals being married for the first time and those without significant assets may benefit from a prenuptial agreement. In order to make an informed decision before you get married, you should know what a prenuptial agreement is and what it covers.

What is a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people who are going to be married. What the contract entails is up to each individual couple. Generally speaking, prenups address the division of assets in case your marriage doesn’t go as planned. Many people think of prenups as something for the very wealthy. However, a prenup covers a lot more than the money in the bank or that huge vacation home in the Bahamas. Besides addressing how assets obtained before, after, or during the marriage will be divided, a prenup can also answer the following questions. Will a spouse receive alimony? What will children of previous marriages receive financially or property-wise? Will a spouse be provided health or life insurance? Will debt acquired before or during marriage be shared? Assets, debt and children are some of the many things prenups can address that affect people of all income levels.

What does a prenup mean for our relationship?

Prenuptial agreements are hardly romantic, but they don’t have to be a total buzzkill. Signing a prenup forces you to address finances together early on, which is one of the biggest struggles in marriage. Finances very commonly can cause a marriage to fall apart. In fact, money often causes ruptures in many different relationships such as friends, family, and business partners. The separation of relationship and finances may be a relief to many couples and full transparency can even help prevent certain arguments in the future. A valid prenup that stands up in the court of law will be fully transparent. This way you are aware of each other’s financial situations such as assets and debt that may not have been brought up before. Approach the subject together and make it a bonding experience. Talk about your prospects and even “what if” situations. Chances are you’ll learn something new about your future life partner that could benefit your relationship. After talking, you may decide you don’t need a prenuptial agreement after all. It’s your decision as a couple to enter into a prenuptial agreement, either way it may be appropriate to discuss the option. Neither party should be pressured into signing a prenup. In fact, this could be grounds to void or find the prenuptial agreement not enforceable in court.

Do I need a prenuptial agreement attorney?

Yes. Even if you’ve already discussed and agreed on the terms, you both need to have your own legal counsel or prenuptial agreement lawyer. If you’re going to go through the effort of drafting a prenup, then you’ll want to make sure it’s going to be held up in court. And if you try to just write out your own agreement, chances are it could be thrown out. Family law varies from state to state and there are many possible errors that you could make that would completely change or devalue your prenup. You want to make sure this agreement is as legitimate as possible.

While some couples may know exactly what they want from a prenuptial agreement, others might not know where to even start. Maybe you are having trouble agreeing, or a prenup never crossed your mind until your partner approached you with one. In either of these situations, a great prenuptial agreement lawyer will help guide you through the pros and cons of a prenuptial agreement. This way you will both come out with terms you are comfortable with, agree upon, and will hold up in court.

Each prenuptial is designed to fit the specific goals of the parties and their respective financial positions. It is not advisable to try and write your own prenuptial agreement as it will most likely not end well.

How exactly does a prenup work?

There are a few things you need to know about how a prenup works if you want it to be held up in court. For a prenup to be valid, the couple must disclose all their financial information to each other. There can’t be any hidden debts or assets (i.e. secret bank accounts). The prenup may go right out the window if it’s discovered you withheld any financial information. You should both have separate independent legal counsel to guarantee that you were fairly represented and understand your rights and responsibilities in regard to the prenup. Also, you both have to actually agree to the terms. There can’t be any sort of coercion. Don’t get your partner drunk before signing – even if it’s not intentional! Signing a prenup should be done in a professional manner with valid witnesses. Otherwise, the prenuptial agreement could be invalidated because it was signed under “duress”. This also means taking care of the prenup well before the wedding! Don’t wait until the last minute. If you were under pressure to sign a prenup in time for the wedding, the judge may throw out the prenup because there wasn’t enough time for you or your partner to adequately consider the implications of signing it. These are some hard and fast rules when it comes to prenups, but there are still other scenarios that could cause your prenup to be discredited. Hiring an experienced family law attorney is the best way to making sure your prenup would be held up in court.

Call (413) 746-4400