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Should I have a prenuptial agreement?

Prenup agreement

One controversial question that many engaged couples ask attorneys is whether they should have a prenuptial agreement. Some couples believe prenuptial agreements instill a lack of confidence or trust. Whereas other couples believe prenuptial agreements provide security in financial, marital expectations. Regardless of the couples’ viewpoints, prenups can help set a solid foundation for the future. 

What is a prenuptial agreement? 

Prenuptial agreements, or premarital agreements, are legally binding contracts signed by both prospective spouses before their wedding day. The document addresses various financial issues and scenarios that may come up during the marriage, divorce, or death. The purpose of prenuptial agreements is to protect both spouses’ rights and mitigate disputes in the future. In many ways, prenuptial agreements act as a guide map for the couple during the marriage. 

Benefits of prenuptial agreements 

The primary purpose of a prenuptial agreement is for engaged couples to openly discuss their financial expectations and make important decisions before entering into the marriage. In the unfortunate event of divorce, the couple may save time and money in mitigation as the division of assets was already discussed. Prenuptial agreements are exceptionally beneficial for individuals who have spent years establishing their estate and preventing someone from “marrying for money.” They are also helpful if one potential spouse has acquired a certain amount of debt before the marriage,  to determine who is responsible for paying it off. 

Business owners, in particular, can benefit from having a prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements help business partners understand the new spouse’s role in the business and determine the percentage the other spouse is entitled to in a divorce.  

Couples entering a re-marriage who have children from a previous relationship will also find prenuptial agreements beneficial. Prenuptial agreements can include what will happen to the estate upon a spouse’s death, where a parent may want to name their children as beneficiaries instead of the new spouse. 

What should you include in a premarital agreement? 

An important prerequisite of any prenuptial agreement is full disclosure of each party’s financial status.   Failure to do this properly can be a basis to invalidate the agreement at a later date.  Prenuptial agreements are highly customizable based on the individuals involved. Couples can include any financial issues they wish to address, like dividing financial accounts such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts, savings, and checking accounts. Couples may also want to include who would receive personal assets like family heirlooms, real estate property, and inheritances in the event of a divorce. It is important to note that prenuptial agreements focus on the financial aspects of the marriage—not domestic issues like who is in charge of doing laundry. However, couples can include responsibilities such as who will pay particular bills and file taxes. Premarital agreements may also establish work expectations like whether one spouse will stay home to care for young children. Whether a potential spouse is willing to waive their spousal or estate rights is also something to include. Property rights and support obligations during a marriage and their effect upon any estate plan can be complicated.  The use and advice of an attorney are very important in order to ensure that each party is making a properly informed decision to grant or waive rights during the marriage.  In addition, any prenuptial agreement should be agreed to and executed well before the scheduled wedding.  Last minute agreements may be subject to invalidation for being executed “under duress.”

Peppler Law, P.A.: family law attorneys in Central Florida

If you are considering creating a prenuptial or premarital agreement before you walk down the aisle, both parties need to have individual legal representation. Please schedule a consultation with our family law lawyer in Oviedo, Florida, by calling our office at 407-316-2045. 

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