A prenuptial agreement can be a good idea under a number of different circumstances. For instance, one person in the relationship may have significant assets, thus they can request their potential spouse to sign a prenup. For another example, one spouse may have already been through a divorce, thus from this experience a prenup would protect their assets the second time around should the marriage fail. These are just some of the reasons why you may want to get a prenup. This article reviews some considerations of when a prenuptial agreement may be suitable.
What are some reasons why you would consider a prenup?
Here are a few general scenarios where a prenup could usually come into play:
- You have a hunch your future spouse may be marry you just for money.
- You own a business or a lot of property and want to protect these assets.
- Financially, you’re the one in a stronger position and thus want to keep your pre-marital assets in the event of a divorce.
- You are marrying a person with expensive tastes
- Your spouse has been married more than once
When should you not consider a prenup?
If you and your partner are going to be equal partners in the marriage and are both relatively young, you may not need a prenuptial agreement. Similarly, if you are marrying someone who has few or no assets, you may not need a prenup.
However, you should consider getting a prenup if you do not foresee a judge favoring your beliefs about a redistribution of assets after a divorce. The judge may end up deciding how your assets and liabilities should be divided rather than you or your spouse, regardless of who had more assets at the start of the relationship.
How do you go about drafting a prenup?
First, you’ll need to research the law in your state. In states where it’s not required, a prenup is recommended because it can help you avoid conflicts later. It’s also a good idea to speak with an experienced family law attorney who can help you create a prenuptial agreement that will protect your assets. If you’re marrying someone who already has an outstanding prenuptial agreement, it’s also a good idea to speak with an attorney.
If you’re drafting a prenup yourself, you need to decide what to include in it. The most common issues to be covered by a prenup are:
- Inheritance rights.
- The division of property.
- The division of debts.
- The custody and support of children from previous marriages.
- The spousal support that will be paid after the wedding.
What details need to be included in a prenup?
You should be aware that a prenup can’t cover everything. For example, you usually do not include information about your professional career in a prenup, unless it pertains to guaranteed income. Also, you should not include information about the future. For example, you usually do not include information about what you’ll do if one of you decides to stop working and stay at home to take care of the kids. Finally, it’s not typical to include information about the way you’ll raise your kids or treat each other. For example, you can’t include information about spousal support, or decide that one of you will be in charge of household chores.
Here’s a list of details that you will probably want to clarify on a prenup:
- If you and your spouse have kids together, you should include information about custody and support.
- If you have a child from a previous marriage, you should include information about child support.
- If you have a joint bank account, you should include information about how money in the account should be divided.
- If you have assets that you want to keep, you should include information about how to divide them.
Prenups can be a helpful tool, but you should think carefully about whether you want to sign one.
When should a prenup be signed?
A prenup should be signed before the wedding. If you’re the one who wants the prenup, you’ll need to decide if you’re willing to go through with the wedding without your fiancé if he/she doesn’t sign.
If you’re the one who is being asked to sign a prenup, you’ll need to decide if it’s worth signing without the assurance that the wedding will move forward.
If you’re the one who is asked to sign a prenup, you can ask for some concessions in exchange for signing. You can ask the other person to agree to pay more for the wedding, agree to pay for a bigger wedding, agree to pay for a honeymoon, or agree to have a bigger engagement party.
Some people decide that they want to be married before they sign a prenup, while others sign the agreement before the wedding. There really is no perfect timing to get one signed. However, the sooner it’s signed before the wedding usually the less risk of having issues popup just before, during or after the wedding.
What if you have kids from a previous marriage?
If you have kids from a previous marriage, you should make sure that the prenup addresses custody issues. It’s also a good idea to have a parenting agreement that’s separate from the prenup so that you can show the court that you’ve thought about what you want to happen if your marriage ends in divorce. A parenting agreement covers the same issues that are included in a prenup, but it’s written in a way that a court can use it to help make a ruling.
If one or both of you have kids from a previous marriage, you should talk about where the kids will live if you get divorced. You should also talk about if you will help the other person to pay for your ex-spouse’s living expenses and child support.
Some people decide to set aside an amount of money to be used for the kids of a previous marriage, separate from the amount of money that they would normally spend on a wedding.
What if you want to keep ownership of certain assets?
If you want to keep the ownership of certain assets, you should consider setting up a joint bank account to be used for the purchase of assets you will share together. This way, you can keep your own individual financial assets in separate individual accounts. Each person signing the prenup should specify the assets they wish to keep control over in the event of a divorce. This way a judge can more quickly and easily distribute assets if they designated in the prenup.
How do you end a prenup?
The prenup is a contract that you both signed before getting married. You can end a prenup by signing a separate document that says that you’re ending the agreement.
This document should say that you’re ending the agreement because of a divorce, or because you don’t want to be married anymore. You should get an attorney to help you with this, because you will need to include some additional information about the terms of any settlements.
How much will a prenup cost?
The cost of a prenuptial agreement varies depending on the complexity of the issues. You should budget a minimum of $1,000 – $5,000.
How long does it take to get a prenuptial agreement?
You can get a prenuptial agreement drafted, signed and notarized within a week.
What should be included in your prenup?
The prenup should be as detailed as possible. It should set out the rights and responsibilities of each spouse in the event of the divorce, including:
- Each spouse’s separate property and separate debt
- Any property acquired after the marriage
- Any debts incurred after the marriage
- The division of the couple’s assets and liabilities
- The right to a share of the couple’s future earnings
- The right to alimony payments
How does a prenup protect you?
It will help to clarify the financial responsibilities of each spouse. It is extremely rare that a divorce judge will allow a spouse to change the terms of a prenuptial agreement. Thus, it usually provides one party with strong protections against the other in the event of a divorce.
- It protects each spouse’s separate property from the claims of creditors of the other spouse
- It protects the separate property of each spouse from the claims of creditors of the other spouse
- It reduces the possibility of a spouse making a claim against the other spouse’s property
- It reduces the possibility of a spouse making a claim for more money in the event of divorce
- It protects the right of a spouse to make a claim against the other spouse’s property or future earnings
- It provides certainty about the amount a spouse will receive in the event of divorce
What if I want a prenuptial agreement now, but I’m not getting married until the future?
It is not necessary to be married in order to get a prenuptial agreement. It is usually advised to prepare and sign prenuptial agreements before legally getting married or having a marriage ceremony.
What if I’m already married?
You may get a postnuptial agreement. A postnuptial agreement is a contract between two spouses that is signed after they are married. A postnuptial agreement can deal with the same issues as a prenuptial agreement.
If you feel that a prenup is right for you, you should work with an attorney to draft it before you get married. You should also think about how you’ll end the agreement if you divorce or if you decide to end the marriage before you get to the point of signing a prenup.
Couples should talk about the issues that are included in a prenup before they sign one. They should also think about how they will deal with the issues that are left out of the agreement. For example, if they don’t want kids, what will they do if they have a baby during the marriage? There are many questions needing clear answers prior to signing a prenup, or else the agreement becomes useless. Hopefully not like the marriage itself!