Many people are familiar with the term “prenup.” But only a few people fully understand what it means and how it works. A prenup can prevent you from a nasty divorce, and it’s worth looking into one. Learn what a prenup really means and how it can protect you in a divorce.
What is a prenup?
Some happy couples hear the term prenup and cringe. They immediately dismiss it as something for unhappy couples. However, a prenuptial agreement is a smart move for any couple that is soon to be married. To determine if it’s right for you, you need to understand what it means.
A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract that a couple signs before their marriage. The contract discusses what happens with finances in the case of a divorce. In some states, the agreement is known as a premarital agreement or even an antenuptial agreement.
When you work out a prenuptial agreement, you and your partner explain how you will split up your finances if you divorce. This includes details like your separate property, marital debt, and your home. It may say how long a spouse and children can stay in the marital home after a divorce. If you and your partner do ever divorce, you have all of the financial details already determined. This can save you from a long and expensive legal battle.
Although a prenuptial agreement covers all your financial issues, it cannot cover child custody. It goes against public policy to discuss custody or child support in a prenup. For that, you need to go to court. If you and your partner can’t agree on child custody during a divorce, it’s up to the court to decide.
How does it change divorce?
Divorces tend to be long and costly processes. It’s rare to find a couple who can agree on how they want to split up their finances. In fact, most couples argue for years about the terms of their divorce. It drags out the proceedings and is a source of stress for everyone involved.
When you have a prenuptial agreement, you can prevent a drawn out court battle. With your finances already split up, you and your partner have nothing to argue. You don’t leave the decision in the hands of the court or risk losing any property with which you came into the marriage.
Even if you have no ill will towards your partner, it can be difficult to keep track of your finances. You may forget what property was yours before your marriage. Or, you may lose track of whose debt was whose. With a prenuptial agreement, you have a record of everything. You don’t need to remember any of the details. Instead, it’s all recorded in your agreement.
Why do couples get prenuptial agreements?
There are many reasons why couples choose to get prenups. While the ease of divorce is reason enough, here are a few common reasons couples get prenups:
1. There are children in the relationship
When you go into a marriage with children, you may worry about their future. A prenuptial agreement can serve as a guide to what your kids get. Although a prenup is no substitute for a will, it can stipulate what finances your children get if something unfortunate happens to you.
2. Your partner comes from a previous marriage
If you marry someone who comes from a previous marriage, they may have child support payments or property debts. In the event of a divorce, you could end up responsible for some of those debts. A prenuptial agreement can keep you free and clear of those debts.
3. Your partner has much more wealth or debt than you
When there is a big discrepancy between the wealth or debt of two individuals, a prenup is a good idea. The agreement can protect your wealth from your partner. Or, it can prevent you from accumulating your partner’s debt. Your prenuptial agreement protects both you and your partner from either scenario.
4. You or your partner own a business
Whether you are an entrepreneur or a business owner, you need to protect your investments. If you don’t get a prenuptial agreement, your partner could end up with a stake in that business. It’s important to protect yourself and your business with an agreement.
Can a lawyer help you?
Deciding to get a prenuptial agreement may be the best thing for your marriage. To make sure you create an effective prenup, you need a lawyer with experience. They can help you create an agreement that makes your divorce a smooth, painless process.
A prenuptial agreement doesn’t mean you will get a divorce. Even if you don’t get a divorce, the agreement can give you the peace of mind to know that you have protection. It lets you know that no matter what happens, you and your partner are prepared. Regardless of what happens, a lawyer can help you through the process.