The term "prenup" generally evokes negative feelings and is associated with divorce. However, prenups can be a crucial part to your prenuptial plans as they not only provide for a guide to a possible divorce, but it also allows for the implementation of estate planning and protection of outside children. Therefore, it will be important to change the tone of a prenuptial conversation and formulate it into one focused on the benefits it provides. Whether you and your future spouse are agreeable on a prenuptial agreement or not, you should seek the advice of a family law attorney to ensure your rights are protected and gain some insight into the prenuptial agreement benefits and limitations.
Before approaching your partner with the idea of a prenuptial agreement, it will be important to know the details and requirements that come with it. In general, a prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into between a couple prior to a legal marriage. These agreements may designate how each property brought into the marriage is classified; the division of financial responsibilities; provisions regarding a divorce, or estate planning. These contracts do not just focus on a possible divorce proceeding and are not only available to couples who have a significant amount of assets. A prenup can give you control over your own property and ensure the items you bring into the marriage are considered yours legally. Further, your prenup can not only protect you but also your children as you can use this document for estate planning purposes as well. You may set spousal support terms, waive homestead exemptions, or waive rights to certain property owned by your spouse, but a prenup may not discusses child custody or child support. Overall, you must know that prenups must be fair to both parties involved.
After noting the possible provisions of a prenup, you can then assess your personal need for one. If you have children from a separate relationship, or you are bringing into your new marriage a significant amount of assets you may wish to enter into a prenuptial agreement for protection purposes. Further, if you and your future spouse have a significant discrepancy in income or debts, it may be important to draft an agreement to address these issues and provide a level of protection. Finally, if you or your spouse has a business or one of you intends on staying home a prenup may need to address the division of this business, involvement of the second spouse, or the protection of the spouse staying home.
If after addressing these items, you determine a prenup will be in your best interest you will need to approach this topic with your partner. It is encouraged that you start this conversation and process early on. In many cases, the idea of a prenup takes time for an individual to warm up to and see the benefits it may provide vs the stigma attached to it. When determining the terms you will need to implement, openly discuss these with your partner and determine them together. Keeping one another involved in your process is necessary to ensure no one feels like they are against each other. Instead, when working together, you achieve a more cohesive and agreeable arrangement. Be open to listening to your partner and change. Some items may need to be negotiated to compliment the needs of both parties and having open and honest communications make these terms easier to navigate. Finally, ensure that while discussing the document, you focus on the legal protections but also focus on the marriage relationship.
Prenuptial agreements can be an extremely unsettling or uncomfortable topic to approach your future spouse with. However, these agreements can provide a substantial amount of aid to you and your family beyond a divorce proceeding. How you approach these topics can be a determining factor in their implementation. Therefore, speak to one of your attorneys today to determine the needs and benefits of these agreements to you and your family.
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