What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement, or a prenup, is used by couples to help them plan for the unknown. It is an agreement made by the couple before getting married that discusses assets and debts and how they will be handled should the marriage not work out.

Though it can seem to some that planning for possible failure isn’t romantic, having an effective prenup can be an invaluable tool to help ensure both parties can avoid financial stress should their future not work out the way they planned.

Why Should I Create a Prenuptial Agreement?

Some may view a prenup as only a requirement for those with a substantial income or existing assets. This is not the case. A prenup can benefit many couples for various reasons. Some of those reasons will be discussed below.

If children are involved, a prenup can help clarify what future expectations will look like. Whether the couple shares the children or is from previous relationships, it’s essential to plan ahead for their future should your marriage not work out as planned. If children of earlier relationships exist, either party can account for their future by stipulating how assets may be distributed to them in the event of divorce.

Avoiding disagreements in the future is another important reason to create a prenup. Divorce doesn’t always have to be overwhelming and contentious. With an effective prenup in place, you can avoid the stress of having to agree on items at a later date when emotions are involved. Creating a prenup with a clear head can allow both parties to outline how they want things acceptably handled in the future for the couple.

Clarifying debts is another critical reason to create a prenup. Maybe one of the parties going into the marriage has significant debt. Whether it’s medical, college loans, or credit cards, if you want to be proactive in clarifying who is responsible for the existing debt before marriage, a prenup can help you do that.

Common Mistakes in Creating a Prenup

An effective prenup can be an invaluable tool to help both parties plan for their future and the future of any children involved. It must be done correctly, so it can be enforceable if you need to utilize it in the future.

It may feel uncomfortable to be transparent with all debts and assets before marriage, but by doing so, you both have a clear picture, and few surprises are left for later. Each party should prepare to be fully transparent with the existing debts, income, and assets they have going into the marriage and include them in the prenuptial agreement.

The prenup must be written, signed by both parties and notarized. This crucial step is sometimes forgotten, and it can mean that the prenup is not enforceable when it’s needed if this step is not complete. Notarization may not be required in all areas, but taking this extra step can help to solidify your intent.

Creating a vague document instead of a clear and concise prenup is another standard error that some couples make. The best way to ensure that your intentions are carried out when emotions are likely high is to ensure that your expectations are clearly communicated and easily understood by associated parties. Working with an experienced attorney can help ensure that your prenup verbiage is clear and essential information isn’t inadvertently left out.

What if My Future Spouse Doesn’t Want to Sign a Prenup?

A key element to an effective prenup is that both sides willingly participate in creating it. If coercion by either party is proven when it comes time to use the prenup, most courts will throw out the agreement.

Ensure both parties are on board with the prenup and plan to complete the document several months before the wedding date. The date of the document is important to establish that neither party felt rushed or coerced into signing the paperwork before walking down the aisle.

By carefully explaining the importance of an effective prenup to your partner, they may see what an effective tool it can be. The future is unknown, but most couples find creating a prenup appealing because both parties feel assured that whatever the future may bring, they have prepared for it to the best of their ability as a team.

Honesty is the Best Policy

As mentioned above, full transparency is expected when creating a prenup. If one party hides assets or other important financial information to protect themselves, and it is later discovered, the prenup is likely to be invalid and not honored.

Have an honest conversation with your partner and ensure all essential information is included and clearly documented within the prenup. Though gathering all necessary financial documents may take some time, it can provide peace of mind for both parties knowing everything is out in the open before marriage.

Why Work with a Family Law Attorney?

Family is the most essential thing in our lives for most of us. Protecting and advocating for your family is what we love to do. Whether it is preparing for the future, navigating a chapter in your life, or working together to answer the tough questions on your mind, we are confident we can assist you.

We have helped several clients throughout the years to create reasonable solutions to all life’s twists and turns. We provide invaluable resources to help to collaborate with you and your family and move on to the next chapter of your life.

Contact our office at (803) 258-6449 to learn how we can best assist you.