Prenuptial Agreements: AKA Prenups

What is a prenuptial agreements? AKA What is a prenup?

These agreements are often glamorized on television or on celebrity tabloids. What a prenuptial agreement is, sometimes called a (“pre-nup” or prenup or pre-nuptial) , is basically an agreement between two adults that are soon to be a married couple a way in which property will be appropriately divided up before their marriage, during their marriage, and even after their marriage. With a prenup division of the marriage’s assets can be specifically tailored to a particular occasion, as agreed before any issues arise. It can make divorce proceedings a much easier and less stressful process…and of course…save you money. Although the definitions of a prenup may vary, generally they all involve making sure money is saved for both parties in divorces.

Spousal Reactions To Pre-nups:

Pro’s and Cons of Prenups

A prenuptial agreement is a tool used to protect both yourselves and your spouse if the worst thing imaginable happened. Consider it a backup plan for a very bad rainy day. Remember no one enters a marriage thinking they will get a divorce, but you might as well protect yourself if it does.  A prenup can also be adjusted if need be later. Even if you’re not rich or have many assets, than a pre-nup can still be beneficial. For instance, if your spouse is going to school and you agree to pay for the school and then get a divorce a few years down the road. You would still be on hook for those loans because your name is on them.

Pre-nup Cost: Premarital Agreement $$$

The cost of an average prenup differs, however, you’re looking at around $1,000 – $3,000. However, do not panic. There are also plenty of pro-bono clinics and programs that will assist in doing a pre-nup for you. Moreover, there are many online sites and documents where you can find a pre-nup form as a template and then simply sign it or get it notarized and save yourself a lot of money. Attorneys might even look at a pre-nups for a discounted rate. You do not need an attorney to create a prenup. Simply have each spouse make their own lists of what they want, discuss it as civilized people, have each use their own independent attorney to look it over.  Sign it and get it notarized. PLEASE NOTE in most states for a pre-nup to be legal, some states require that each spouse retain their own lawyer, and pay their own legal fees.

Prenup: Enforceability

The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) governs prenuptial agreements. A prenup will be considered enforceable if it was entered into voluntarily, in writing, signed by both parties, both parties give a full and fair disclosure of their  financial worth, and the economic provisions were fair and reasonable.

Prenup: Elements in a Prenuptial Agreement

  • Each parties rights and obligations in shared property as well as separately owned property
  • Each parties right to buy, sell, lease, assign, dispose of, or control property
  • Distribution of property upon separation, dissolution, or death.
  • Modification or elimination of spousal support
    1. This is fine unless the spouse has to go on welfare/public assistance then such a stipulation would be invalid
  • Whether and how a will, trust, or other arrangement would be created.
  • Choice of law governing the agreement
    1. In regards to what state would govern the agreement
    2. If the agreement does not specify which state law will govern, the law of the state in which it was executed or where the most significant relationship to the parties exists will be the ruling law.
  • Any other matter not in violation of public policy or a criminal statute.

Prenup: Important Notes

  • Courts look at fairness of parties and whether each party had independent counsel when looking to enforce the agreement.
  • Child custody in pre-nups never binds a court’s decision. All provisions pertaining to child custody are void.
  • Courts also have the ability to refuse a premarital agreement if it would eliminate or limit spousal support.
  • If you want information on how to file a divorce check out our article here on steps for filing a divorce.
  • If you want information or would like to help your children learn about divorce we have an article for that too here.
  • It’s also important to understand that children also have rights in a divorce. You should review those in our recent article.
  • If you’re looking about information for a separation agreement we got you covered, this article we made explains it.
  • The Washington Post did an article about the development of prenups over time and how you are likely to have one more than your parents would have had when they were married.
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