Premarital agreements are also known as prenuptial agreements, or ‘prenups’. Put simply, it is a document agreed upon and signed by one or both spouses before they get married.
A premarital agreement document sets out the rights of each partner to property and financial assets in case the marriage ends in divorce. They are most often used to protect family businesses or the assets of a particular spouse who may be considerably wealthier than their partner.
It may not be romantic to think about divorce before you tie the knot, but it helps to think of the premarital agreement as a kind of life vest. Every time you board a plane, there is a life vest under your seat in case the flight runs into problems. You don’t expect the flight to run into problems, but the life vest is there regardless. It’s the same with marriages—the ‘prenup’ is there just in case. With over half of all American marriages ending in divorce, it’s certainly worth thinking about.
Premarital agreements can be used in certain cases to protect assets from marital property laws.
If your premarital agreement will be scrutinized by a judge at some point in the future, they will need to check that it doesn’t contravene state law—in which case the law will be upheld. They will also need to be sure that the agreement was necessary and fair. If your premarital agreement is deemed to be unfair, it could be dismissed. This is the role an attorney serves: they ensure that your prenuptial agreement is fair and compliant with state law (thus being enforceable).
Decide with your partner whether the agreement will be fixed, or whether it will be renegotiated after a certain amount of time. Additionally, explain your credit report and financial circumstances to your spouse.
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