Before you and your significant other get married, you may want to sign a prenuptial agreement. Also referred to as a "prenup", this written contract typically states each piece of property both parties own and the rights to that property in the event of divorce or death. At the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks, we can help you draft a prenup that us clear and legally sound. Contact us today to learn more.
Why Do You Need a Prenup?
Prenups are not just for the wealthy and privileged. In fact, more and more couples of modest means are turning to prenups for a number of different reasons, which may include:
Passing property from a prior marriage to your children
If you hold property from a prior marriage that you want to pass on to your children, you may want to sign a prenup before your new marriage. In your prenup, you can specify exactly each asset you own that you wish to pass down to your children.
Determining financial rights and duties
Whether you're wealthy or not, creating a prenup is a great way to determine the financial rights and duties of each partner. This way there are no financial surprises during the marriage.
Avoiding arguments if there is ever a divorce
If you ever get divorced, drafting a prenup can help avoid any arguments that may arise during the divorce proceedings. Typically, most arguments during a divorce arise from dividing property or determining who will receive alimony. Fortunately, in your prenup you can pre-divide your property and pre-determine who will receive alimony, so that if you ever get divorced, you will already have those factors figured out.
Protecting yourself from debt
If your future spouse has any outstanding debts, you can use a prenup to protect yourself from their debt.
What If You Don't Make a Prenup?
If you choose not to make a prenuptial agreement, in the event of divorce or death, your state's laws will determine how the property you acquire during your marriage will be divided. Furthermore, in some cases, state law can even divide assets you owned before that marriage. Because the law sees marriage as a contract between two people, that contract includes automatic property rights between each spouse. When a prenuptial agreement is not made, each spouse usually holds the following rights:
- Sharing ownership of any property acquired during the marriage, which in the event of divorce or death, will be divided up.
- Incurring the debts of your spouse.
- Managing and controlling marital property, including the right to give it away or sell it.
If you do not agree to the rights above, you should consider making a prenup. A prenup is the only way to ensure that your property will be divided fairly upon divorce or death.
Speak to a Family Law Attorney to Learn More About How to Make a Prenup
In the past, the court has viewed prenups with somewhat skeptical eyes. Prenups typically involved signing a legal waiver by a less wealthy spouse. They were also thought to encourage breakups. However, today the law is more open and friendly to prenuptial agreements. In fact, every state now permits them and legislatures are more willing to uphold them in court. Still, it is important to remember that prenups that don't meet state requirements will be set aside. We advise drafting your own prenup with your partner before you consult any lawyers. Talk with your spouse and write down assets and property you wish to divide between yourselves. However, keep in mind that your prenup should be written in a way that is understandable, clear and sounds legal. Once your prenup is written, you will need to have separate lawyers review it. Having multiple attorneys review it strengthens the validity of it to the court.
Contact the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks Today
At the Law Offices of Rick D. Banks, we can help you draft and review a prenuptial agreement that protects you and your interests. To schedule a no obligation consultation, call (559)222-4891