Getting married is a serious matter. Not only do two people decide to live together as long term partners, but to share everything: personal secrets, intimacy, feelings, their hearts, and souls, as well as their assets. These assets include physical property and financial accounts.
So if I’m married, should I get a prenuptial agreement?
Of course, you’d have to decide on this with your partner. Consent and mutual understanding is the key to a long-lasting and happy relationship.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreement or PNA is a contract between two people before marriage. Commonly, prenups involve assets and their division in case of separation or death. Points covered can range from money to physical property, to custody, which depend on the things you’d like to ensure with your partner.
Reasons for separation can also include cases of adultery. Some countries have clauses regarding the division of assets and rights of each individual while in the marriage. You could also call it a “marriage contract.” Note that each state law may handle marriage contracts differently.
Why Would I Get Prenuptial?
People usually frown upon the idea of prenups as they assume and anticipate the end of the marriage. They’d instead give it a “benefit of the doubt” and would want the union to be everlasting based on unconditional love.
On the other hand, marriage contracts give assurance and security for both individuals. It involves the practical side of marriage. Conflict in marriage is unavoidable like separation. In the U.S., 40 to 50% of couples divorce. Although we wouldn’t want to see then end of your union, it’s just not impossible.
While fear of divorce grows in the U.S., families feel more secure with prenups. 2016 saw a 62% rise in prenuptial agreements from 2013. Another reason why Americans have become anxious and expectant of divorce is that many are beginning to get married later in life. Men and women get married at the median age of 25.5 and 28.1.
As people get married later, properties and financial savings increase. Securing personal assets in a generation where career and professional work are valued is put at a prime, especially with the rise of ventures in personal businesses and entrepreneurship.
How Should I Go About a Prenup with My Partner?
- Be fair.
The contract between the two of you has to be fair. You have to say everything, admit to everything you own, and make sure both parties would be provided for in the case of separation and death. If you remain selfish while entering the prenup, then why are you getting married in the first place?
- Be honest.
Honesty is key in both relationships and marriage, so why would you have to lie in a prenup? It is necessary to disclose everything that you own and could own through inheritance. Making the contract fair involves being honest about everything to provide for each other equally.
- Hire separate attorneys.
Independent legal counsel for both of you is crucial. Representation should not involve just one person for both of you. U.S. states, though not all, require you to have separate attorneys. Prenuptial agreements need to stand for both individuals and not only to serve one.
- Do not touch premarital assets.
What you acquire, build, and save up before you get married is a separate property that you purchased individually. If you’d have to put it into the equation too, then you’d see your partner walk away with your assets. Prenups will be fairer if assets acquired during the union are those divided among both of you. This is typically reasonable, but most couples would find different terms that make it agreeable to them both.
- Set terms in case of death.
You could leave the property in case of death to family and relatives, or friends, depending on how the couple would seem reasonable. Of course, being fair would also mean leaving assets to your spouse as well. It will make sure he/she would be provided for sufficiently in case you leave them alone.
- Discuss the matter early (even before marriage!).
Entering into a relationship, especially at a later age, usually sees marriage as the finish line. Do not cram your marriage contract! Prenups are something you bring up when you decide to spend a long time with a partner. They have to be well-thought of and planned well for the state and the law to recognize the validity of your contract.
- No children!
Prenups do not touch the topic of child support and child rights. The law dictates these. Parents are required to provide for their children despite the separation of the union. Bargaining the child’s rights is against the law.
It’s important to remember that prenups are not only for rich people and celebrities. Similar to how insurance works, prenups only assure your security at a time of crisis. If you think prenuptial agreements aren’t for you, then there is always the option of a postnuptial agreement in the case of separation.
Consult with a Lansing family lawyer from The Clark Law Office to know more about prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements.