You put the brakes on marriage to focus on your career, personal goals, gain more life experience and form a substantial financial foundation, and now you have decided to get married.
You may live with the conviction that you’d never leave your partner — and that your partner would never leave you. But, unfortunately, you have no control over another human being. No matter what your feelings are regarding divorce, couples would be wise to consider marriage insurance ( a prenup).
Just as auto insurance covers you in the event of a car accident, and homeowners’ insurance helps if a tree falls on your roof, a prenup is an insurance policy that can protect you during the fallout of a divorce, however likely that may be.
Marriage trends come and go. Divorce rates and statistics change. Divorce laws change. With regards to these matters, a basic truth remains: a family law attorney is an invaluable source of guidance.
I encourage you to seek guidance from a prenup attorney to create a sophisticated prenuptial agreement that meticulously addresses:
Amount and term of alimony/spousal support;
Waiver of alimony;
Pre-marital asset values and the protection of those assets;
Pre-marital business interests and the protection of those interests;
Inherited assets and the protection of those assets;
Division of assets upon divorce, including but not limited to real estate, business interests, stocks, bonds, and other investments;
The establishment of responsibility for premarital debts such as credit cards, student loans, mortgages, etc.; and/or
Resolution of the distribution of property upon death.
A prenuptial agreement should be a discussion about what feels like a fair division of assets within the ecosystem of your relationship. For example, if you’re both in the workforce, do you feel that having to pay alimony — the financial support one spouse provides the other during a separation or divorce — is fair? Your state’s laws will assert what it thinks is fair, but you should determine if you agree. If you disagree, a prenup helps avoid a potential court battle and upholds what the two of you deem as fair compared to your state’s laws (within reason).
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:
There is a right and wrong way to create a thorough and enforceable prenup. The most basic rule to follow is that each person in the relationship needs his or her own, separate attorney. You do not enter a law office as a couple and sit down with one lawyer to create your contract. You both need your separate lawyers to create a contract that will best protect each of your interests, as well as the validity of the agreement down the road.
Unfortunately, most prenuptial agreements are drafted poorly and many of them do not stand up in court, which is why it’s important to consult an attorney to avoid any ambiguous or unenforceable clauses that might not protect your assets. Whether you are making the thought-out step to move forward and marry your partner or think you made a mistake during the prenup process in the past, an experienced divorce attorney in your area can help.
If you live in New Jersey, feel free to contact me at vantassellaw.com to help you resolve these unique issues before you tie the knot.