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Archive for the ‘Prenuptial’ Category

Prenuptial FAQ

Monday, February 4th, 2008

What is a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement, known casually as a “prenup” is a contract that two people sign before they get married.  The purpose of this contract is to single out the rights and benefits between individuals who are planning to marry and to settle questions of property distribution, alimony, inheritance matters if the marriage ends with a death, separation, or divorce. It allows the individuals to protect their own assets that they had acquired before the marriage.


Should I seriously consider a prenuptial agreement?

Unfortunately, less than 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. It’s like flipping a coin. That is why a prenuptial agreement is considered to be smart financial planning. Marriage isn’t only a symbolic union of love and appreciation; it’s also a union of financial assets. A prenuptial agreement can help protect the financial well-being of the marriage, as well as protect the assets of both individuals. 

How much does it cost?

You can expect to pay anywhere from $700 to $800 for an attorney-prepared prenuptial agreement. This cost is also based upon the difficulty of the couples’ finances and the amount of negotiation involved needed to reach an agreement. Additional costs may apply depending on the assets involved. 

How should I discuss a prenuptial agreement with my partner?

If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, discuss it as early as possible with your partner. The topic shouldn’t be taboo if you and your partner have been open with each other about serious issues such as marriage, financial responsibilities or children.  Be upfront as to why you believe a prenuptial agreement is important and that you’d like to explore the option further.

 Does wanting a prenuptial agreement I don’t trust my partner?

No, not necessarily. A prenuptial agreement is usually based on practicality rather than a lack of trust.  Older couples that marry a second time simply want to protect their children. Younger couples may feel that a prenuptial agreement will protect them later on if the marriage does not work out. Prenuptial agreements are normally used by those individuals who are wealthy and have many additional assets.

 When is a prenuptial agreement enforceable by law?Prenuptial agreements are governed by state laws and vary from state to state. An agreement is enforceable by law if:• It is in writing and signed by both individuals before marriage• It is voluntary and not ridiculous (a prenuptial agreement that is so one-sided and unfair that no person in his or her right mind would sign it without being persuaded or pressured to do so)• There was a sufficient amount of admittance of each individual’s financial information, or that admission was waived• The enforcement of the prenuptial agreement would not fundamentally abolish all of one individual’s marital rights• To avoid the look of intimidation, the agreement was signed as early as possible before the wedding took place• The agreement is fair and does not leave anyone without financial means.

What To Include In The Prenuptial Agreement

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

If you and your fiancé are considering having a prenuptial agreement before you are married, there are many things that you should include in the prenuptial agreement. First off, ensure that both spouses have their own lawyers to look at the prenuptial agreement – this is to protect both of you and ensure that the prenuptial agreement is fair and legitimate. If you use the same lawyer, there is a possibility that the prenuptial agreement will not be held up in court if you get divorced.

Here is a list of what you should include in your prenuptial agreement:

  • Decide how the debts will be handled – both those incurred before the marriage and after the marriage.
  • Disclose to your lawyer all of your liabilities, assets, sources of income as well as any future assets that you can consider, such as an inheritance or gift.
  • Decide who will get the primary residence as well as any vacation homes in the event that one spouse dies or a divorce occurs.
  • Ensure that you state what will happen to each of the specific properties that you own, either together or separate. This includes antiques, accident settlements, jewelry, real estate and stock options.
  • Discuss the status of gifts or bequests that you get, either before or after the marriage. Under normal circumstances, these are separate properties, however some questions arise when a gift is given to the couple after the marriage. One primary example is a monetary gift for the down payment on a house that is given by one of the spouse’s parents.
  • Child support and any provisions for child support or custody will not be binding later should you get divorced, however you can allow for alimony/spousal support in the prenuptial agreement and come up with a figure that is reasonable for both the payer and the receiving spouse.
  • You should also set forth the beneficiaries of your retirement plans, pensions, IRAs, 401(k)s in the event of one of the spouses death or a divorce occurs.
  • You should also provide for children’s health insurance and cost sharing for health care for your children.
  • You should also include the state laws that apply to your prenuptial agreement and how a move to a different state will affect your prenuptial agreement.
  • You should also provide for your pets in the prenuptial agreement – who gets custody and if there will need to be visitation rights.
  • Ensure that the attorney’s who handled your prenuptial agreement are identified in your documentation. Ensure that each of the lawyers explains each of the provisions in your prenuptial agreement and that you understand what everything means. Never be afraid to raise a question about any of the provisions in your prenuptial agreement.
  • There should also be a clause in your prenuptial agreement that the person who challenges the validity of the agreement will pay the other spouse’s lawyer fees, regardless of the outcome.

How To Tell My Fiancé That I Want A Prenuptial Agreement

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

The decision to get married is a big one, but following that, there are other large decisions that need to be made as well. One of those decisions is whether or not you are going to have a prenuptial agreement. If you need to tell your fiancé that you want a prenuptial agreement, you are probably worried about the result and feelings of your fiancé when you tell them.

There are a variety of ways to approach your fiancé about a prenuptial agreement; however, it is important to remember to keep your fiancé’s feelings in mind. Chances are that if they aren’t expecting it, they may feel a little hurt. This is where your sweet talking comes into play a bit, although it really isn’t sweet talking, if you follow a few points of advice.

First off, you need to address the subject of a prenuptial agreement when the two of you are alone and in private. Tell your fiancé that you have a serious conversation that you need to have. Bring up the subject ensuring that you linger on a few key points.

A prenuptial agreement does cover assets, both yours and your fiancés. A prenuptial agreement is a two way street – it isn’t just about you and what you own, but rather what your fiancé owns as well. The most common reasons for a prenuptial agreement are common in second marriages, especially when there are children from another marriage. Prenuptials are also popular if there is a significant difference in each of the spouse’s financial resources and premarital wealth. Stay with these specific points – you can’t barrel into the conversation stating that you are the one with everything and make your fiancé feel like they have nothing. Contrary to the point, a prenuptial agreement is there to protect your assets, but it is also there to protect the assets of your fiancé.

The best way to tell your fiancé that you want a prenuptial agreement is to go with facts and figures. You should also insist that your fiancé have their own attorney, different from the one of your choosing, to look over and help with their side of the prenuptial agreement. There’s a lot at stake, and you want to make sure that the prenuptial agreement is just that – an agreement. If your fiancé feels under duress or strain to sign the prenuptial agreement you could find yourself with an invalid prenuptial agreement when you are divorcing.

It is hard to discuss the concept of divorce and death with your fiancé before you’re even married, but it is better to do so earlier, rather than later. These are tough decisions to make in some cases, and it’s much better to make them while you are still happy and in love and not under the emotional and financial stress of a divorce proceeding. Ensure that you really listen to what your fiancé has to say about a prenuptial agreement.

How to Find a Prenuptial Attorney

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

Deciding to get married is a big decision, and so is deciding on a prenuptial agreement for your marriage. One of the most important decisions is finding an attorney to draw up the prenuptial agreement. There are few points that you should consider when you are finding a prenuptial attorney.

The first thing is that you and your fiancé will each need a separate attorney. This is important for a number of reasons: if you both use the same attorney, there is a possibility that your prenuptial agreement will be invalidated if you get a divorce. Secondly, both you and your fiancé need to make sure for your own selves that the prenuptial agreement is fair for both parties.

It is hard to discuss the matter of divorce and even death before you are ever married. However, it is important that the prenuptial agreement is an agreement, one that both parties agree to and sign under their own free will. Otherwise, you could be opening yourself up for an invalid prenuptial agreement. If you both have an attorney to explain all the points and procedures of the prenuptial agreement, if you do end up in a divorce, neither of you can say you didn’t understand the agreement when you signed it.

You need to find an attorney that is local and close to you geographically. This is one of those legal documents that will likely require a lot of conversation and probably more than one draft as agreements are met and negotiations begin. This doesn’t have to be a long or arduous journey, and it need not be nasty – the purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to agree to the terms while you are not emotionally strained, as you would be in the middle of a divorce.

Secondly, you need to find an attorney that you trust and that specializes in family law. A family lawyer is the type of attorney who specializes in writing prenuptial agreements. You will want to find a specialist lawyer to help you with your prenuptial agreement, they are the best suited to ensure that the document that is drafted is as iron clad as they can get – this is what is best for both you and your fiancé – to ensure that the agreements you made at a time of happiness and less stress are the ones that you will be okay with should one of you pass away or if your marriage ends in divorce.

Prenuptial agreements are quite common in second marriages, especially when there are children from another marriage. Prenuptials are also popular if there is a significant difference in each of the spouse’s financial resources and premarital wealth. There are many reasons for a prenuptial agreement, and there are attorneys who specialize in writing them for the very reason of their popularity. No one goes into a marriage thinking divorce, however it is best to cover your assets and find an attorney to help you with your prenuptial agreement.

Do I need a Prenuptial Agreement?

Saturday, January 12th, 2008

If you have made the big decision to get married, you are quickly realizing that there are many decisions that need to be made. Other than the dress, wedding and reception, there is also a key legal decision that you should make with your fiancé – whether or not you need a prenuptial agreement.

A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two spouses before they are married to say how property will be divided in the event of divorce or death, but can also include other issues of marriage as well. Prenuptial agreements are common in second marriages, especially when there are children from another marriage. Prenuptials are also popular if there is a significant difference in each of the spouse’s financial resources and premarital wealth.

There are many benefits to having a prenuptial agreement. By working out some serious and difficult issues before you are married, you can avoid some major marital problems as well as time consuming, expensive and emotional litigation in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements can also protect an inheritance to one of your children from another marriage. If you do end up getting divorced, the prenuptial agreement could potentially avoid you needing to go through litigation during your divorce proceedings because most of the difficult, key financial issues are already decided in the prenuptial agreement.

Of course, there are also some disadvantages to having a prenuptial agreement. The chief disadvantage is addressing the issue of a divorce with your fiancé before you are event married. There is also a possibility that the prenuptial agreement will not be upheld in court upon a divorce. Even if the prenuptial agreement is held in court, there’s no guarantee that all of the agreement will be recognized. The best example of a prenuptial agreement portion that may not be upheld in court is child support or child custody arrangements and issues that are addressed in the agreement. These issues are not binding in court because the child’s best interest will be the deciding factors.

There are other grounds for invalidating a prenuptial agreement. The main considerations for invalidation of a prenuptial agreement are:

One of the spouses was pressured into signing the prenuptial agreement and felt they had no choice and no bargaining power.
The prenuptial agreement was not fair or reasonable when it was created or when it is being enforced during a divorce.
The prenuptial agreement is one sided and it would be unfair for a court to uphold it.
One of the parties withheld important financial information from the other spouse at the time of the prenuptial agreement signing, or throughout the marriage.

Prenuptial agreements are becoming more and more common in today’s society, primarily due to the high number of divorces that are seen. People are also much more aware of the emotional impact and financial costs of divorce litigation in court. If you are considering a prenuptial agreement with your fiancé, it is best to seek out a lawyer, one for each of you, to help with the agreement.