What exactly is a prenuptial agreement?
Maybe you’ve heard the term, but have no personal experience with drafting or signing one in the past. If you are concerned about retaining separate ownership of your home, vacation property, vehicles, art collection or other assets, you might consider this type of agreement as a valuable tool to accomplishing your goals.
The following are basics that define a prenuptial agreement:
- A signed agreement between a couple before marriage
- Defines ownership of assets
- Sets forth what will happen to particular assets if a divorce occurs at some point
- Establishes property and financial rights, and can also relegate a particular debt to a specific spouse
- Is legally binding if validly signed and uncontested (A contested contract may still be binding depending on litigation and the court’s final decision.)
You’re certainly not required to sign a prenuptial agreement before you get married. (In fact, if someone has already pressured you to sign one by using it as an ultimatum just before your wedding day, you may seek guidance as to determine whether the contract you signed is valid.)
The top 5 reasons for signing a prenuptial agreement
There are many reasons people in your situation choose to draft and sign this type of contract. While it’s true, some hesitate because they think it’s unromantic, the following are perfectly valid reasons for creating a prenup agreement.
1. Protect an inheritance
Sometimes there is family wealth or heirloom property that one may want to ensure stays within the family in the case of a dissolved marriage. Protecting inheritance is one of the top reasons people decide to have a prenuptial agreement in place.
2. Protect existing business interests
If you are involved in business or have full or partial ownership over a company, sometimes those dealings need to be protected. By having a prenup in place for you business interests you can ensure that in the case of divorce, you business will not be included in the separation of assets.
3. Protect yourself against debt liability
Unfortunately, sometimes the ones we choose to be with are bringing their debt into the marriage. That debt isn’t always evenly allocated between the two fo you, and should there be a divorce, you may be stuck with paying off any remaining debt initially brought in by your partner. A prenup can prevent you from being responsible for that debt in the case of divorce.
4. Ability to keep your finances separate
A prenup can allow you to keep existing assets separate. Whether that is a house, car, stocks or other investments. A prenup can define that those properties of one spouse are not part of the marital estate.
5. Prevents disputes and provides asset clarity
At the end of the day, a prenuptial agreement is really there to prevent stress, conflict and confusion over assets in the case of a divorce. By having one in place, not only can it save time and money on court proceedings, but it can outline a clear and defined path to separation.
Where to seek support
If you’d like to discuss your particular situation with a skilled advocate who has successfully represented many others facing similar decisions in the past, you can contact us here. We can provide counsel as to how to protect a business or any assets you own before getting married.
By seeking support and maximizing options that best suit your immediate needs and future goals, you and the one you love can plan the wedding of your dreams and a lifetime of memories in the making.