Prenuptial agreement; some cringe just upon hearing the words, but a prenuptial agreement is no longer considered taboo in today’s society.

Centuries ago,a prenuptial agreement was considered a document that perhaps only the rich would have in place in order to protect their wealth. It was widely considered to be a symbol of distrust in one’s partner for insinuating that the marriage would ultimately fail. Times have changed and that is no longer the case. In today’s society we have seen the prenuptial agreement become more and more commonplace in marriages.

Today, people are getting married later on in life and often for a second or third time. Once married, everything that a person owns or brings with them into the marriage becomes part of the combined marital assets. All assets and debts that one partner brings with them now becomes evenly shared between both partners. If entering into marriage in one’s 30’s, 40’s and even 50’s, there is a good chance that many enter with large amounts of financial baggage or assets.

What a prenuptial agreement will do is ensure that what a person brings into the marriage (both assets and debt) is not included as part of the combined marital assets and remains solely the property and/or responsibility of the person who previously had ownership, should the relationship dissolve.

Considering that nearly 50% of all marriages these days end in divorce (60% of second marriages) having a prenup in place actually protects both parties.

A properly drafted prenuptial agreement will typically cover everything that might be relevant in case a marriage fails but most commonly will cover the following:

How the property the couple acquires during the marriage and brings into the marriage will be divided.

Who’s responsible for paying which debts the couple incurs during the marriage and any pre- marital debts each may have had.

In most states, an agreement can state how much alimony or spousal support one spouse will pay the other and for how long.

Many prenups also have clauses stating that the agreement isn’t valid unless the couple remains married for a certain number years and that the agreement is invalid if one spouse is unfaithful during the marriage.

In order to ensure that a prenup is valid, it’s important to follow these guidelines. This is not to be taken as specificlegal advice, these are simply guidelines.

A Prenuptial Agreement should be:

Written. Oral prenups are not valid.

Executed voluntarily and without coercion. A prenup that is signed the day before the wedding or used as ransom to proceed with a wedding can be invalidated.

Executed only after full disclosure. If you hide assets and/or liabilities and your spouse finds out, you run the risk of potentially invalidating the agreement.

Conscionable. A prenup cannot be unconscionable. In other words, a prenup could be invalidated if the agreement is too lopsided, with one party being awarded nearly all assets.

Executed by both parties, preferably in front of witnesses (or notary). Some attorneys even recommend having a judge witness the signing to make sure that both parties do so voluntarily and that neither party was coerced into signing.

Written in a recordable format, such as a property deed.

If you’d like more information on Prenuptial Agreements, why not give us a call today?