There is nothing romantic about a prenuptial agreement, but there are several things that are very practical about prenups that make them a smart planning tool, especially for those who are entering marriage with significant personal assets.
In the eyes of the law, marriage is a contract and a prenup should be considered as an addendum to that contract that can benefit both parties in the case of a divorce. At its most basic, a prenuptial agreement defines how assets are to be divided should a marriage end in divorce — which is not an unlikely scenario when you consider that the divorce rate in America is currently around 42% for first marriages and even higher for subsequent marriages.
Some prenuptial agreements also address estate planning issues, the management of assets and debts during the marriage, business ownership, and even alimony. The agreement is generally executed and signed within a few months prior to the marriage — the reason for this is that a court could decide the agreement was signed under duress if it was signed just days prior to the marriage ceremony.
Prenups are also useful because the financial implications of a divorce are becoming more complicated. Many people are marrying or remarrying later in life. They have had more time to acquire significant assets or they may be bringing financial obligations from prior marriages –including children — to a new marriage.
By defining financial issues prior to the marriage, both spouses can enter their new union with a clear understanding of the consequences should that union not last. The less affluent spouse may be comforted by knowing that if the marriage does end, he or she will not leave the marriage destitute. Just the act of creating a prenuptial agreement can ensure that each spouse has a clear understanding of their financial position and gives them the power to make their own decisions about how their assets would be divided instead of having a court make that decision.
Finances play a large role is every married couple’s lives, and are one of the biggest areas of disagreement. Having a prenuptial agreement lays a foundation for a secure financial future for both spouses, which may be the best wedding gift of all.
When you are faced with an important life decision regarding a key family relationship, the advice and assistance of an experienced family law attorney often proves crucial to your understanding of the issues involved and your satisfaction with the ultimate outcome of your family law matter. Contact us today for your free consultation.