19th Apr 2019
By now, you’ve probably heard the statistic that half of all marriages end in divorce. While not exactly hopeful, the reality is that the flip-side of happily ever after can be “I never want to speak to you again.” With so much bad advice out there when it comes to protecting your assets just in case you fall within that 50% divorce statistic, we thought we’d take a moment to provide some prenuptial agreement fundamentals that romantics and realists alike should know:
1) What exactly is a prenup?
A prenuptial agreement, or prenup for short, is a financial agreement between the two people entering into the marriage. What a prenup cannot do is determine matters of custody, for example, as your children are not construed as financial assets.
The prenuptial agreement can be as basic as, “My stuff before we got married is still my stuff, and your stuff before we got married is still your stuff,” and/or it can even get as specific as stating that marriages that only last two years, for example, result in the parties walking away with nothing, while if they stick it out for five years, you get X amount.
2) Prenup savvy
The laws differ from state to state, but the general rules regarding prenups are as follows: 1. full and honest disclosure of the finances; 2. ample time to review and negotiate the terms and conditions of the prenup; and 3. the opportunity to discuss with your own attorney. And yes, you should 100% have your own attorney (not the one your partner is using) review the prenup before you sign on the dotted line.
Additionally, it’s important to note that a prenup isn’t foolproof. While most states technically recognize prenups, in practice, each state has different requirements for a prenup to hold up in court, which is why it’s important to follow proper procedure from the start and make sure to have an attorney look things over.
3) Prenups—for everyone?
Prenuptial agreements are specifically intended to protect your financial assets in the instance of divorce. So, if you don’t currently have any financial assets, you probably don’t need one. For instance, if you don’t own real estate or have any investments, there’s no current need to worry about these items being taken by your ex in the instance of divorce. However, if you expect to gain any substantial assets (through an inheritence for example) it would be wise to consult with an attorney to discuss your options with a prenup.
But what about in the future — when you have amassed some wealth, property, or big investments? After all, you’re on the up and up. Fortunately, if your circumstances change, you and your spouse will absolutely be able to sign an agreement after the marriage has been instated — known as a postnuptial agreement — that’s as legally binding as any contract drawn up before marriage. As with a prenup, you should consult with an attorney before entering into any agreement concerning division of marital assets.
Before you sign anything, contact our compassionate family law and divorce attorney to help you decide what’s truly right for you. For an consultation with Semmes Law Firm, click here today.