From the proposal to the wedding day, marriage is all about romance. However, it is important to remember that marriage is not only a physical and emotional union but also a legal and financial partnership. Statistically, a significant number of marriages end in divorce. Even if you “know” it cannot happen to you, being prepared is important. Although you might not want to talk about a prenuptial agreement, this important document is an essential part of the wedding preparations. A prenuptial agreement is a sort of insurance policy that explains how assets should be divided in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements are not just for the extremely wealthy. Anyone who has saved some money or owns property can benefit. Here are a few important things to consider in your preparation.
Proper Legal Procedures
It is essential to follow certain legal procedures to ensure that your agreement is valid. Both parties must disclose all of their assets and sign the document. This requires planning, attention to detail, and honesty. If one spouse has hidden anything from the other, this can invalidate the agreement. Additionally, the document must be considered fair and ensure that both parties are taken care of following a divorce. There can be no unreasonable demands, either as part of the marriage or following a divorce.
Creating an accurate legal document takes time. Plan for at least a month to compile information and to get the appropriate documents together. Hire a family law professional who is experienced in creating prenuptial agreements to ensure everything is completed satisfactorily. The lawyer must witness the signing and it is beneficial to keep multiple copies, with one in a secure location.
Important Elements to Mention
Some assets are fairly obvious to include in your prenuptial agreement, such as savings accounts, investments, and physical property. For smaller items such as jewelry or antiques that may be notably valuable, it is beneficial to get an appraisal if the item is to be listed in the document. Some assets can be more abstract, such as the potential income when one spouse is just beginning a lucrative business or completing a professional degree.
The terms of the agreement are not required to be only the distribution of assets. There may be concerns about child custody, though financial support cannot be waived in a prenuptial agreement. Another common inclusion in the issue of religion for children when spouses observe different faiths. It is recommended that demands that seem frivolous are not included, as anything deemed unreasonable can cause the entire document to be thrown out and rendered invalid.
Updating Your Agreement
It can be difficult to plan for the many life changes you will go through following your marriage. Your financial circumstances can change significantly and you may wish to be more generous over time. Some couples also choose to include a “sunset clause” that ends the prenuptial agreement after a specified length of the marriage. Regardless of how your plans unfold, a prenuptial agreement is a beneficial document. Contact a family law attorney to help with this personal decision process.