Your Guide to Prenuptial Agreements

Couple making Prenuptial Agreements

Although every marriage begins with hope for a bright future, 50% of marriages do not last. A prenuptial agreement can help you begin a marriage with some certainty or predictability if things don't go as planned.

It's essentially a contract between two people who plan to marry that covers issues such as assets, rights, insurance benefits, and personal property. If you're wondering about the benefits of a prenuptial agreement and whether it's right for you, we can help!

Here are the facts you should know about prenuptial agreements.

What Are Prenuptial Agreements?

A prenuptial agreement is a business contract between a couple in a marriage or civil union. It protects both parties if the union dissolves and ends in divorce.

Some issues covered in a prenuptial agreement include:

  • Personal assets
  • Custody issues
  • Property division
  • Retirement funds a spouse saved before marriage
  • Education funds a spouse saved before marriage
  • Inheritance
  • Spousal support
  • Finances
  • Current and future business holdings

What Cannot Be Included in a Prenup?

A prenuptial agreement can cover a wide variety of issues. There are some things you can't include in a prenup. These include:

  • Child support
  • Custody and visitation agreements
  • Illegal terms
  • Unfair terms
  • Verbal agreements
  • Non-financial requirements like weight restriction or relationship clauses

Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement

In years past, prenuptial agreements have gotten a bad rap. But the truth is there are many benefits of a prenuptial agreement, and it's often a smart option for a couple planning to marry.

Some reasons to consider a prenup include:

You or Your Partner Has Children

If you or your spouse had children prior to the marriage, a prenup can protect them if one of you passes away. A prenup shouldn't take the place of a will, but it's a good way to establish a plan for the care and the financial best interests of your children.

You or Your Partner Were Previously Married

If you or your spouse were married before, a prenup can help prevent assets from a previous marriage from interfering with assets from your new marriage.

You or Your Spouse Have Significant Wealth

If you or your spouse are entering a marriage with greater wealth than the other, a prenup can protect those assets in the future. It may not seem very romantic, but it's a smart move.

You or Your Spouse Carry Significant Debt

If you and your partner have significant debt or more debt than the other, a prenup is a good idea. It can help protect each spouse from being responsible for the other's debt if you divorce.

You or Your Spouse Own a Business

If you come into a marriage owning a business, you want to protect it. A prenuptial agreement helps you protect your business and future earnings.

You or Your Spouse Seek Financial Privacy

You can include a confidentiality clause in your prenuptial agreement. This can help ensure your financial status will not be shared on social media, television, or in any way that may result in negative attention.

What Can Invalidate a Prenuptial Agreement?

There are a number of reasons a prenup may be deemed null or unenforceable. In this case, the couple's assets will be split according to your state's dissolution of marriage laws.

A few issues that could invalidate an agreement include:

Mental Capacity

Both parties must be mentally competent and not suffering from mental deficiency, mental illness, or intoxication. Both parties must be of legal age to marry.

Improperly Executed

Both parties should agree to the prenup and sign it before the marriage or civil union takes place. If a couple fails to sign it before they marry, the contract may become unenforceable against either party.

Insufficient Time

Many states require a statutory timeframe for a couple to review the prenup before signing it. In Utah, you must both sign the prenup before a notary.

Two witnesses must sign as well. All of these signatures should be completed before the wedding day.

False or Incomplete Information

Prenuptial agreements require full disclosure by both parties. This includes accurate details about both spouses' assets, income, debts, and liabilities.

Invalid Provisions

Prenuptial agreements cannot be for invalid purposes. For example, a party may not include a clause that states that child support ends if the marriage ends. A prenup cannot contain any provision that breaks the law.

If it does, the court will likely strike any invalid provisions from the agreement.

Unfair Terms

The court will not enforce a prenuptial agreement that it deems unconscionable. An example is an agreement where one spouse gets all the property and assets, and the other gets the debts.

If the court finds there was unequal bargaining power that led to grossly unfair terms, they will strike the agreement as unconscionable.

What If I Don't Have a Prenup?

If you don't have a prenuptial agreement in place, state laws will determine how to divide your assets if you divorce. In most states, property that a couple acquires during the marriage is considered community property.

A prenup can save you from adding even more stress to a divorce. No matter how happy a marriage may have been at one time, divorce is a different matter.

A divorce can become bitter and confrontational very quickly. A prenup can eliminate fighting and stress since the terms of the agreement are already in place.

A qualified family law attorney understands how to make a prenuptial agreement. They can help protect your rights and ensure you have a solid prenuptial agreement in place, just in case.

Hire the Best Family Law Lawyer

Unfortunately, not every marriage lasts forever. A prenuptial agreement protects your assets, property, and more if your marriage ends.

Having a solid agreement in writing protects your best interests. If you're planning to get married, a family law attorney can help you understand prenuptial agreements and whether it's the right choice for you.

At Fair Price Lawyers, your family is our priority. And we'd love to assist you with a custom prenuptial agreement.

Contact Fair Price Lawyers today for a consultation.

Categories: Divorce, Family Law