If you’re getting married, hiring a prenuptial agreement attorney is one of the best investments you can make for your financial wellbeing and peace of mind. Unless you completely agree with your state’s laws regarding the dissolution of marriage, a prenuptial agreement is a good idea.
What Is a Prenup?
In its most basic form, a prenup is a legally binding agreement outlining the terms of property rights and ownership within a marriage (and after). It overrides the local laws governing property rights and sets down enforceable guidelines for asset distribution.
Why Make a Prenuptial Agreement in the First Place?
Everyone’s case is unique, but here are a few of the most common reasons you may want to consider such an agreement:
- You wish to maintain some level of financial separation.
Most property acquired during marriage automatically becomes a part of your joint estate. However, a prenup can define whether a particular asset (say, a house inherited from your great aunt) remains your own individual property.
- Supporting children from previous relationships.
If you want to ensure your kids from a previous relationship inherit certain property and assets upon your death, a prenup is the best way to do it.
- Outlining financial obligations during your marriage.
Joint bank accounts? Debt? Or even whether or not your spouse will inherit the full estate upon the other’s death? How you want to handle assets and liabilities throughout the duration of your marriage can all be outlined in the document.
Is There Anything a Prenuptial Agreement CAN’T Cover?
While each state has its own governing set of regulations, there cannot be inclusion of any provisions that violate public policy. Think pre-emptive custody limitations, future child support obligations or anything that might incent a person to get divorced.
Why Do I Need to Hire a Prenuptial Agreement Attorney? Can’t I Just Sign a Prenup?
Technically, yes. You don’t NEED a lawyer to represent you during the signing. However, if one party had representation, and the other didn’t, the court may decide the document is invalid. And usually, the more complex (or one-sided) the document is, the more likely it becomes that the court will invalidate it.
Having independent legal representation for both parties reduces the likelihood the court will reject the document and also protects the individual interests of each party entering into the agreement.
How Do I Get Started Getting a Prenuptial Agreement?
The first step you’ll need to take when beginning the drafting process is to have a very clear understanding of what you do (and do not) want to be covered in the agreement. This can be a list of assets and liabilities, specific financial outcomes you want to be guaranteed, or any number of things.
The next piece you’ll need is for both parties to compile a full list of assets and liabilities. Even if they aren’t included in the agreement, they may need to be a part of initial discussions.
Finally, you’ll want to hire an experienced attorney to represent your interests during the drafting and negotiations. Only by having your own attorney can you be sure your interests are protected.
Need a Family Law Consultation?
For a complimentary, confidential consultation about hiring a prenuptial agreement attorney, call the Reeder Law Firm at (770) 475-2521.