Strengthen the Foundation of
Your Marriage Before it Starts
At Z Family Law, we know that prenups empower spouses to have honest, important conversations that build a stronger foundation for marriages that last. There's a good reason to lay everything out on the table before you walk down the aisle. By putting it all out there, you can ensure you and your future spouse are on the same page, eliminate uncertainty, and prevent surprises down the road.
What if You Could Have a Marriage With Your Own Rules?
Getting a marriage certificate is as much a legal and financial commitment as it is an emotional one. Whether you’re aware of it or not, everyone who enters into a marriage already has a prenup in place: the state law. To that end, going through the divorce process without having your own prenuptial agreement means you’re subject to the default divorce law terms in your state when it comes to matters like alimony, the division of marital property, inheritance allocation, separating retirement accounts, and determining child support and child custody. In other words, if you don't have a prenuptial agreement and you’re not up-to-date on your state’s divorce laws at the time of the marriage, you won’t know what you’re actually agreeing to when you say “I do" to your future spouse.
Of all the reasons we believe prenups
lead to stronger marriages, here are our top three:
- If You Fail To Plan, You Plan To Fail: This saying always rings true, but it's particularly relevant when your financial future and financial rights are on the line. Don’t make the mistake of believing that the love you feel for each other in the present precludes you from planning for future life changes and events, such as future children, property, and perhaps even debt. Instead, think of your prenuptial agreement as a business plan for your marriage. This mental shift in how you think about a written prenuptial agreement will force you to confront difficult yet critical legal issues, creating a safe space to address these topics now and into the future.
- Showing Your Cards Matters: In order for a written prenuptial agreement to be valid, both sides must be open and honest about their financial obligations, financial issues, and financial position. This is called full financial disclosure. Just think: Wouldn’t it make sense to be on the same page about finances going into the wedding day instead of being caught off guard by an unpleasant surprise later on? This point is especially relevant if there is a wealthy spouse in the picture, or if both spouses have significant assets (though you certainly do not need to have a lot of money or own a lot of property to benefit from a prenup!).
- It Strengthens Your Bond: Pledging to treat each other with dignity and respect even in the face of divorce is a responsible decision and can actually help spouses feel more secure heading into their wedding day. With your own prenuptial agreement, you can both commit to a financial future that’s civil while still basking in the glow of your happily ever after.
The Process of Writing a Prenup
A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into by a couple before they marry. The purpose of a prenup is to protect each party’s assets in the event of a divorce. The first step is to talk to your partner about the idea of a prenup. The next step is to meet with one of our prenuptial agreement attorneys to discuss your options. An attorney can help you understand the benefits of a written prenuptial contract and can draft a custom financial agreement for your specific situation. In order for a prenup to be valid, both spouses must disclose their finances to each other. This includes revealing a list of assets they own, as well as any financial obligations they have. After the agreement has been drafted, both spouses must sign the agreement voluntarily. If one spouse refuses to sign, the agreement may not be valid. In order for the agreement to be enforced in the event of a divorce, it must be notarized. After the wedding (and the honeymoon!), you and your new spouse will need to reaffirm the prenuptial agreement.
Can a prenuptial agreement be terminated
or changed after marriage?
Premarital agreements are not always ironclad. In some cases, they may be terminated or changed after marriage. So, it's possible for changes to be made to the agreement. For example, if the married couple has a child together, the prenuptial agreement may be terminated or changed to reflect the new rights and obligations of the parents with respect to their child. In addition, if the parties later divorce, the prenuptial agreement could be set aside or modified by the court if the court finds that it's unfair or that one party did not have full and fair disclosure of the other party’s assets. Ultimately, prenuptial agreements can be a helpful way to protect the parties’ interests in the event of a divorce or death. However, they're not always binding and they can be terminated or changed after marriage in certain circumstances, or set aside by the parties to the agreement, or the court.
Is there a chance that a prenuptial agreement could be denied or rejected by a court?
No one can predict with certainty whether a prenuptial agreement could be denied or rejected, but there are some factors that could influence the court's decision. If one party did not have a family law attorney review the prenuptial agreement before signing it, the court system may find that party to have been at a disadvantage and refuse to enforce the prenuptial agreement. If the prenuptial agreement was signed very close to the date of the wedding, the court system may also find that the couple did not have enough time to consider the agreement. That's why it's important to have a family law attorney assess your prenuptial agreement before submitting it – and both you and your partner should hire your own counsel to advise you.
Tie a Tighter Knot Prenup Checklist
To set you and your future spouse up for success, the prenuptial agreement lawyers at Z Family Law have created the Tie a Tighter Knot Prenup Checklist, designed to guide you and your partner through a list of important topics to discuss before you say your vows on your wedding day. Download our prenuptial agreement checklist and start this conversation with your other half today. When you’re ready to move forward, our qualified attorneys are only a few clicks away.