7 Things You Should Know about Prenuptial Agreements

7 Things You Should Know about Prenuptial Agreements

They’ve been a feature of a dozen soap opera plots. People who ask for them are often villainized. But a prenup can be a smart move.

In fact, they’re getting extremely popular, largely because people are getting married much later in life and so have more to protect. And while nobody wants a marriage to end in divorce, we all know divorces are common.

#1) They’re not just for the rich.

You should consider a prenup any time there’s a significant disparity between your assets and your intended spouse’s.

You should also consider getting one if you plan on getting separate bank accounts, if you are a professional who relies on intellectual property to secure your living (i.e., a published author or songwriter), if you have an inheritance you need to protect, or if you own a business prior to getting married.

#2) They should cover assets and debts in depth.

Prenups require you and your intended to disclose all your assets and debts, just like a divorce agreement would. The agreement will outline which existing assets will be considered non-marital property. This should keep them from being divided up in the event of an eventual divorce.

They can also cover who will be responsible for covering any debts which either party brings into the marriage. It’s worth mentioning prenups are also becoming more popular because both spouses are more likely to have a significant student debt load going into the marriage. Without a prenup you could end up responsible for paying your ex’s student loan debt in the event of a divorce.

#3) They can cover spousal support.

You can hash out spousal support in a prenup long before the divorce, which can avoid confusion and arguments later.

Keep in mind the law has recently changed to remove spousal support tax breaks. This could leave a prenup including a spousal support agreement open to challenges later.

See also: New Tax Laws Call for New Spousal Support Strategies.

#4) You cannot determine child custody or support with a prenup.

Child support and custody agreements may not be covered in a prenup. The children you’d be talking about usually haven’t even been born yet. It’s impossible to sit at a table prior to a marriage and make decisions about what might be in the best interests of those children in terms of custody.

Child support is also already ruled by state guidelines, which a prenup cannot overturn.

#5) “Lifestyle” clauses are unenforceable.

People have tried to put all sorts of crazy clauses into prenups. You can try to put in clauses about your spouse’s weight, or about infidelity, but they’re completely unenforceable. Prenup provisions are not contingent upon your spouse’s good behavior. Behavior barely factors into many divorce cases.

See also: Is it Important to Prove My Spouse Cheated on Me In My Philadelphia Divorce Case?

#6) Under certain circumstances, they can be challenged or thrown out.

Under certain circumstances a judge may choose not to honor your prenup. Prenups found to be fraudulent because a spouse hid assets or debts can be thrown out. So can prenups signed under duress and prenups that were never properly filed in the first place.

In some cases, judges can even get rid of a prenup they feel is too lopsided.

All of these are good reasons why you should seek the help of a qualified family law attorney before creating or signing a prenup. Otherwise, it might not be worth the paper it was written on.

See also: Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements.

#7) They don’t lead to divorce.

Sure, sitting down and making “just in case we divorce” plans isn’t very romantic. Everyone would like to believe their marriage will last forever. But it is very realistic.

It’s also a way of talking about your finances and getting certain issues on the table and out in the open. A mature couple might well see a prenup as a realistic way to protect both parties. Buying car insurance doesn’t guarantee a car wreck, and getting a prenup doesn’t guarantee a divorce.

Are you getting ready to get married?

Contact the family law attorneys at Sadek and Cooper to discover whether a prenup makes sense for you and your spouse.

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