It used to be that prenuptial agreements (also known as premarital agreements or “prenups”) were seen as the province of the rich. Many peopler take a dim view of the concept because prenups seem to fly in the face of our romantic ideals of trust, cooperation, and mutual sharing in marriage. They seemed to represent a more cynical view of the institution of marriage. Truth is, nothing says love and commitment like proper planning.
If you fall into any of the following categories, you may want to consider creating a prenuptial agreement.
- You have a lot of assets going into the marriage. While it may not seem romantic to want to protect your assets from your soon-to-be-spouse, the reality is that a certain amount of marriages do end in divorce, and a certain amount end due to the untimely demise of a spouse. In the event that your marriage fails, half of your belongings will be given to your spouse. If you are comfortable with this, great, but if you worked to earn those assets you may not want them to be sucked into the black hole of alimony payments or other forms of spousal support. Not that this is necessarily going to happen (we sincerely hope it doesn’t!), but it’s wise to be protected anyway.
- You are about to embark on your second marriage. If this is your second time on the marriage-go-round, and especially if you have children from your previous marriage, a prenuptial may benefit you. Perhaps you’ve already learned the painful lesson mentioned in point #1. Or perhaps you want to make sure that assets that you wish to go to your children actually go toward them. Either way, if you’ve been through divorce once, you probably don’t want to go through it again.
- There is a large age or income disparity between you and your intended. Technically, whatever assets you bring into the marriage should remain yours, but a prenuptial helps to establish exactly who owned what before the marriage, and sets out the ground rules for dealing with your individual belongings.
- There are special instructions or directives that you want your spouse to carry out in the event of your death. The purpose of a prenuptial agreement is not just for protection in case of divorce, it is also a means of preparing for your estate in the event of your death. While a will is indispensable, and various trusts can help protect some of your assets, a prenuptial can also help establish the guidelines for the disposition of your estate in this eventuality.
- You are a business owner. If you are the sole proprietor of a business, your spouse stands to receive 50% of your business upon the dissolution of your marriage. This means one of two things: either you are going to be forced to share the job of running your business with your ex, or you are going to have to dissolve your business and give your ex half of its assets. If you’ve spent your time and hard work building your business, you probably don’t want to do either of these things.
- You’re Gay or Lesbian.
Many people who are going through divorce wish they had settled these matters beforehand. It is much, much less expensive to draft a prenuptial agreement than it is to go through a divorce. By planning ahead, you both can have peace of mind in case the unthinkable happens.
If you would like to learn more about prenuptial agreements, or any other legal matter, call us for a free consultation at (856) 227-7888, or contact us at [email protected] or on Facebook. We are happy to discuss your legal options.