Prenuptial agreements, more popularly known as prenups, can be a quite complicated issue to discuss when you’re planning your marriage. No one wants to plan for the end of a marriage while preparing to marry someone you love. According to a study done with the users of OnlineDivorce.com, only 7% of couples enter into a prenup agreement. Many people are scared to ask for or enter into prenup agreements, but they are not something to be feared. About 25% of couples who divorce say they wish they had signed a prenup agreement before they married. When done properly, prenups are a useful way to plan for your future, not something to be scared of.
First, it is important to understand exactly what a prenup is and what elements it might include. A prenup is defined as, “an agreement between spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage.” This agreement must be mutually and willingly signed by both spouses prior to getting married. It is not enough for one spouse to simply request it.
Much of the time, these agreements include decisions on how marital property will be divided in the event of divorce, like homes, finances, business assets, etcetera. Other issues that may be included could be more personal to the couple such as issues of adultery and other matters regarding a shared home depending on the cause for separation. The jurisdiction in which a prenup is created could also be determined by the couple. This is a step some may not think to take, but it is important to plan to file in a jurisdiction with divorce and family laws that are straightforward. Whatever agreement must be carried out in the jurisdiction it is written and signed in.
“It is important to consider what arrangements you would want for your home and finances in the event of divorce or death of a spouse.” explains Attorney Galit Moskowitz of Moskowitz Law Group, LLC.
Child support and alimony will still be subject to the jurisdictional laws and cannot be determined in a prenup. Jurisdiction may be set forth in the pre-nup and it is usually in accordance with where the parties reside when they get married or where they intend to reside shortly after the marriage. This means that the pre-nup would be interpreted under the last state specified in the pre-nup.
People are often hesitant to file such an agreement or discuss it as it can be awkward and difficult to think about the end of something that is just beginning. If you end up divorcing or separating from your partner, having a prenuptial agreement could make the process less difficult. It provides a large amount of guidance in the divorce proceedings which can save time, money, and emotional distress. The process of divorce is difficult, and while no one wants to end up there, planning ahead may be the best choice to make. A prenup cannot guarantee smooth sailing for a marriage or a divorce, but it is one tool that could be used to protect each spouse’s assets and plan ahead for your future.