When you’re planning a wedding there are so many things to do. Besides the flowers and the photographer, many people also take the time to get a prenuptial agreement. This document can protect your assets should you get divorced. While many people don’t enter a marriage with the intention of divorce, unfortunately, it does happen. If you’re thinking of getting a prenuptial agreement, here are some things you should know before you sign on the dotted line.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement often referred to as a “prenup” is a written contract that two people voluntary enter before they get married. It typically lists everything that each person owns and specifies what each person’s rights will be to that property after the marriage and if there is a divorce. It also details each person’s debt.
If you get married and don’t have a prenuptial agreement, the law in the state where you live will determine who gets any property you acquire during the marriage should you divorce or die. State law may even dictate who gets property before you were married.
Without a prenup, your spouse usually has the right to share ownership of property that is acquired during marriage and share in managing any marital property. This means your spouse could sell it or give it away. Without a prenup, your spouse can also rack up debts that you may be liable for. This is another major reason that people get a prenuptial agreement because it can also make provisions for debt as well as assets and property.
Why Would I want a Prenuptial Agreement?
Many people are under the assumption that a prenuptial agreement is just for the rich and wealthy. But, it is for anyone who wants to protect their assets. Here are some common reasons why people opt for a prenuptial agreement:
Pass property to children from other marriages or relationships. Many people get a prenup so that their assets are passed down to their children in the event of divorce or death. If a divorce gets ugly, one spouse may try to take property that would otherwise go to their stepchildren.
Get protection against debt. If you’re marrying someone who has a lot of debt, having a prenuptial agreement can protect you from being liable for that debt.
Avoid arguments during divorce. A prenuptial agreement clearly states how property and assets are to be divided. Without one, couples can argue and spent a lot of time in court determining who gets what in the event of divorce.
While everyone has their reasons for wanting to get a prenuptial agreement, these are just several of the most common ones that lawyers see when asked to draw up the document.
What Types of Things Are Covered in a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement typically covers the following areas:
- How assets will be divided in the event of divorce
- How finances and assets will be handled during the marriage
- Spousal support
- Business ownership issues that may arise
- Future of your estate if you or your spouse dies
- How gifts, trusts, and inheritances will be handled
- Benefits, disability, and insurance coverage
At Illaraza Law we can make sure that all of the areas of concern are included in your prenuptial agreement. Children are not included in a prenuptial agreement. The document will not give any rights when it comes to custody or child support.
What are the Basic Requirements of a Prenuptial Agreement?
For a prenuptial agreement to be valid, it must meet the following requirements:
It must be written. No oral agreements are accepted.
It must be voluntary. Neither party should have been coerced to sign the agreement. They must both do it on their own free will. If there is an indication that it was signed under a threat, the agreement is void.
There must be full disclosure. Each party must fully disclose all assets, income, and debt. If one party does not give accurate information, the agreement can’t be enforced.
The agreement must be fair. It cannot be biased to one spouse.
These basic requirements are the same that are listed in a postnuptial agreement. While some people prefer to sign an agreement before they get married, others wait until after they exchange vows and sign a postnuptial agreement instead.
It’s often recommended to discuss a prenuptial agreement well before the wedding. One party may not be in agreement which could cause issues.
What is the Difference Between a Prenuptial and Postnuptial agreement?
There really is no difference except for the fact that a postnuptial agreement is signed after a couple is married. A postnuptial agreement is a legal document for people who are already married or in a civil union. It sets rules about how a couple’s assets will be divided if they get divorced.
Some people don’t like to discuss agreements like these before they get married, so they wait until after. Both agreements have their pros and cons. While some people would rather wait, other people want to have the discussion before the wedding so if any issues arise they can sort them out before they become husband and wife.
Do You Want More Information on Postnuptial Agreements?
If you’re looking for more information on prenuptial agreements, contact Illaraza Law. At Wilson & Associates Law, we can advise you so that you know your rights and know what your agreement should include so that you are protected.
Call Illaraza Law at 214-646-3253 if you have questions about prenuptial agreements or other family law topics.