When you have met the one you want to spend the rest of your life with and are busy making plans to marry, the last thing that may be on your mind is the chance that you will end up divorced. While prenuptial agreements may seem unromantic or indicative of doubts about your relationship, the fact is that they offer definitive advantages, both in terms of protecting you and your spouse and in laying the groundwork for how you will handle your joint finances during your marriage.
Who Should Consider A Prenup?
According to Black’s Law Dictionary, prenuptial agreements are a valuable tool in helping couples gain control over their financial affairs. These generally deal with issues pertaining to your income and earnings, any land or home you may already own, retirement and pension accounts, and any shares you may own in businesses.
Unfortunately, the subject of creating a prenup is often a sensitive issue, and some couples mistakenly believe it could increase the odds that they will eventually get divorced. Nothing could be farther from the truth. In addition to marriage and divorce superstitions, there are two common myths surrounding the type of couple who uses a prenuptial agreement:
- They are wealthy, or own considerable property and assets;
- They have doubts about either their own or the other person’s ability to make a commitment.
The fact is, sitting down and having an open, honest discussion about financial issues, disclosing your individual assets and debts, and coming to agreements about how you intend to manage your earnings can actually benefit your marriage, making it less likely to end in divorce.
How To Create A Prenuptial Agreement
To ensure you are creating a fair, valid agreement that adheres to legal guidelines, both parties should seek individual legal representation prior to signing. Having your own attorney review any documents can help ensure your future legal rights are protected. There are three issues which could make a prenup unenforceable:
- Duress: A key element in making a prenup is to ensure you do it early, preferably months before your actual wedding date. The American Bar Association advises that duress, in which one of the parties feels forced or pressured into signing the agreement, can be enough reason to have a prenup declared invalid.
- Unconscionability: Another reason why a prenup may be declared unenforceable is if one party benefits considerably more than the other. This is known as unconscionability.
- Lack of disclosure: In order for your prenup to be valid, you must fully disclose all the property, assets, and debts you owe at the time it is created.
We Are Here To Help
While prenups deal with how property may be distributed in the event of a divorce or separation, they may also serve as the couple’s first step in estate planning. In addition to any other agreements made, you may include instructions on how to handle financial issues in the event of death or incapacity. Contact our offices today or call us at (336) 882-4300.