A premarital agreement allows for the parties to agree on certain terms and conditions in the event of a divorce, death, or separation. The prenuptial agreement (also known as a “prenup”) allows for the separate property to remain separate, instead of being subject to community property or equitable distribution laws. Prenuptial agreements are becoming increasingly popular and common among societies because nowadays both spouses are bringing in financial worth to contribute to the marriage.
Therefore, the premarital agreements allow them the flexibility to keep or share their property with whomever they wish to. One of the biggest issues in divorces is dividing property and money. Many prenuptial agreements are formed because couples do not want the courts to decide on their asset distribution after a marriage fails. Planning in the beginning can have the potential to save tremendous financial hardships in the future.
What is the Purpose of the Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements are meant to be a legal planning tool for the soon to be a couple. Its purpose is to provide a framework for handling the marital property in case a divorce occurs. However, there may be some negative ideas about prenuptial agreements in general. They are useful in establishing boundaries earlier on for the couples and agreeing to a prenuptial agreement can deter heavy court involvement in determining how assets get distributed.
What Can Invalidate a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements must be in accordance with the state local family alws in order for it to be enforceable in the court in your state. Below are some circumstances in which the prenuptial agreement will be deemed invalid:
- There is no written agreement and if premarital agreements are not in writing it cannot be enforceable;
- It must be signed by both parties before the marriage takes places to be considered valid;
- A prenuptial agreement cannot be valid if it was coerced or forced by the other spouse; Court may examine the relationship between the parties to consider if it was fair;
- A prenuptial agreement is not legally binding if the party signing it did not even have a chance to read the document especially if the other party tried to sneak it through without having the partner signing it;
- No adequate time for consideration, the party must be given time to think and review before signing the agreement;
- Cannot include any invalid provisions such as child support and parent time.
- There must be an honest full disclosure by both parties — as to their income, assets, and liabilities and;
- The parties must have an opportunity for independent counsel;
What are the Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement?
A premarital agreement, also known as a prenuptial agreement is useful in many circumstances. There are some benefits to consider if going the route of signing a prenuptial agreement. It allows the parties to communicate about their needs and wants. The communication allows for more realistic expectations and for some can build a stronger level of trust.
Therefore, a properly drafted prenup gives the couple the right space to address one of the most common legal problems in divorce, which can bring a quick resolution to the process and avoid a lengthy court battle. Moreover, in general, divorce is expensive and time-consuming. You will end up in court eventually for a divorce proceeding for a formal termination of your marriage. But, discussing earlier about the possibility of signing a prenup can avoid the expense divorce.
Furthermore, a prenuptial agreement can protect your separate property and family heirlooms. The agreement can help avoid the gruesome battle for family assets. Creating an agreement to divide the property equally and keep the family heirlooms can ease the tension between the soon to be married couple. It can build a sense of security for the parties and ensure that neither of them will be treated unjustly.
Another valid point is that prenuptial agreements allow you to define what is considered marital property and what is not. If down the road, the marriage fails there is little to no confusion about who gets which property, if the prenuptial agreement outlines these certain provisions for the benefit of the both parties. Most courts will adhere to the local state laws as deference on dealing with marital property issues. Essentially, one of the most beneficial parts of a prenup is that you and your spouse make a decision about how to handle these property issues and the court will respect your wishes.
Lastly, prenuptial agreements are a way to protect yourself from debt. Along with accumulated assets, the court will split marital debt and other liabilities in the divorce as well. If your spouse has an extensive amount of debt coming into the marriage, a prenup will allow you to define the liabilities as your spouse’s separate debt and specify how you will handle it in a divorce.
What are the Disadvantages of Prenuptial Agreements?
With any agreement, there has to be the right place and the right time. For example, if you wait till the last minute and decide to bring up the prenuptial agreement just be the “I dos,” it may be considered invalid. The court may invalidate it because the party did not have sufficient time to review it.
It may be necessary meaning that your local state laws may already resolve the issues the prenuptial is designed to do. Therefore, having a local family law attorney examine your state laws can save you time in the long run. Additionally, prenups cannot resolve issues surrounding child custody, child support and parental rights. Therefore, you would still need to come to an agreement with your spouse after you divorced to make sure that those legal obligations as a parent were fulfilled. Child custody and child support has its own set of issues and guidelines to abide by.
Lastly, it can seem like a divorce will never take place in your future. It matters because if you sign a prenup that favors your spouse, you may end up from the divorce with less than what you deserve or expected. The important factor is to make sure that your prenup favors each of you equally. It is suggested to seek independent attorneys to draft and review the document before you sign it because it can help to deter any future issues that may arise.
Do I need a Family Attorney?
If you or your partner are considering a premarital agreement it will be important to reach out to a local family lawyer to discuss your legal options. If you have already signed a prenuptial agreement and think it is invalid you need to seek legal advice to determine if you have a case.
If you and your partner come to an agreement about financial arrangements in advance, it may be easier to make that agreement enforceable. It is crucial that you research local family laws to follow the guidelines surrounding premarital agreements. Although prenuptial agreements have their benefits there are also some drawbacks that need to be considered before getting started on one.
Depending on the state you reside in, the laws can vary regarding the interpretation of the prenuptial agreements. Being attuned with the local state regulations or seeking assistance from family lawyer can be highly beneficial.