Many of us have heard of prenuptial agreements. Some may know them as “prenups” or pre-marital agreements. Most couples view these agreements with some skepticism because they “kill” the romance. Others view them as tools of the ultra-rich. Yet, prenuptial agreements are a lot more common than you think. Everyday couples use these agreements to make sure their finances remain in order. We’ll look at the basics surrounding prenups, and why you might consider one.
The Purpose Behind Prenuptial Agreements
The main idea behind prenups is to protect one’s personal assets in the event of a divorce. When a divorce happens the combined assets of both parties are equitably distributed between the parties. Sometimes this can result in one party receiving more money or assets than they earned. It can also subject the higher earning spouse to years of spousal support. A prenup resolves the inequities beforehand by allowing the parties to lay out a financial plan in case of divorce.
Prenups do some very specific things. First, they can protect all or certain assets held by one party. Next, they can prevent one party from having to assume the debts of the other. They can also plan out how financial responsibilities will be allocated in the course of the marriage. In some cases they may even distribute property to other parties when a spouse dies.
Post-Divorce Without a Prenup
Those who choose to do away with a prenup face a lot of challenges after a divorce. State law will come into play to determine how the married couple’s assets will be divided. Both spouses will have a right to own part of the marital property. Both may also have to contribute to community debts regardless of who initiated them. Each spouse may also have a right to manage real property or businesses that were obtained during the marriage. A spouse will also have a legal right to receive some or all of the other’s property upon death.
As you can see getting married without a prenup leaves you at the mercy of the law in the case of a divorce. It can be difficult to make amicable agreements about property and assets due to the emotional toll associated with separation. Therefore, state law exists to provide the framework for property distribution. In most cases either one or both of the parties are left without something they desired. Making a prenup ensures that both parties flush out their financial plans beforehand. This helps to make sure both parties understand their responsibilities in the case the marriage takes a turn for the worse.
Creating a Valid Prenuptial Agreement
An experienced attorney in the area of family law can assist in creating a legal prenup. Although prenups were once frowned upon by the court they are now more widely accepted. However, each state has legal guidelines for these agreements. Utah abides by the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (“UPAA”). This requires that the agreement be in writing, voluntary and signed at a point where the parties are seriously contemplating marriage.
Prenups can be invalidated by the court under certain conditions. This happens when one party is less than honest about the extent of his or her holdings. Each party’s full list of assets must be disclosed for there to be a binding agreement. A judge can invalidate these agreements if the guidelines are not followed.
If you need help with a prenuptial agreement or another family law matter contact attorney Rex B Bushman at firstname.lastname@example.org or (801) 652-9413 for an initial consultation. Rex B Bushman will be glad to assist you regardless of where you are in the divorce process.