Written by Canterbury Law Group

How Prenuptial Agreements Work

Are you about to get married? Maybe you had a simple wedding in mind that has now grown into a huge wedding as if it had a life of its own! However, the financial side of a marriage often needs even more careful planning as it can become complicated.

Growing commitment and love are hallmarks of the period of time before a wedding. Most engaged couples think their marriage will last forever and do not want to consider the fact it may end in unhappiness. Yet with around 40 percent of marriages ending in divorce, it raises issues like:

  • How do you want your debts, property, and assets handled in the event of a death or a divorce?
  • Should one of the spouses receive alimony from the other?

In light of this and other issues, some couples are now considering a prenuptial agreement as the best way to prepare for any eventuality that may beset the marriage after the romance fades.

A prenuptial agreement is a private contract that two parties enter into to settle matters of finance in advance, should one spouse die or divorce. It is also known as a premarital agreement, a marriage contract, a prenup or an antenuptial agreement. It is not romantic but many experts in the financial field say it is a very smart idea. It takes your financial matters out of the hands of the state. However, you should have a serious and frank discussion with your romantic partner before you enter into such an agreement. Read on to discover the points you will need to address.

Is a Prenup Needed?

Some think only wealthy people require a prenuptial arrangement. In reality, a prenup should be considered by anyone who has liabilities, properties or personal assets. A prenup not only clarifies the financial responsibilities and rights for each party involved in the marriage but also addresses the distribution of property in an instance of death or divorce. They can also protect spouses from the debts each of them has previously accrued. They can address how property rights will be shared out with children from a previous marriage as well as determine if one partner can receive alimony. However, a prenup cannot cover any activities or actions that are illegal or that contradicts public policy. For example, child custody rights for a child yet to be born cannot be part of the contract. Usually, it is advised the prenup should only cover financial matters not issues like child-care responsibilities and household responsibilities.

It is normal for a time element to be part of a prenuptial contract. Most start on the wedding day and last for an indefinite amount of time. However, some are written to take effect once a certain number of years have passed. Others may state they end once the couple has been married for a certain length of time. This is another reason a prenuptial contract should be fully discussed with your partner well before the date of the wedding, so both parties can understand it fully and mutually craft a fair agreement.

If you are thinking about a prenup, you are going to have to be very honest regarding the state of your finances. An agreement can be invalid if one party hides something from the other party. Below is a checklist of important subjects to cover.

  • Draw up a list of all property, liabilities, and assets and their approximate market values.
  • The identification of important issues.
  • Stating your goals.
  • Honesty in prenup discussions.

You are ready to make preparations for the prenup once you have discussed the above subjects. To some degree, the preparation of a prenup is similar to the writing of your own wedding vows.

Prenuptial Agreements Costs and Legalities

Some people want to write their own prenuptial contract. Certainly, it is the least expensive method but if you do not know what you are doing it may lead to financial ruin down the road. It is often recommended that each party gets a separate attorney to handle the contract drafting. The attorneys you hire should practice family or matrimonial law. They will have knowledge of prenuptial contracts as well as knowing the laws of the state you will reside in once you are married. The attorneys work together to write the document with the best interests of each client in their mind. This can assure a prenup that is fair to both parties and helps it to be enforceable and valid in a court, should the prenup have to be invoked in a subsequent divorce.

Throughout the United States, prenuptial contracts are considered legally binding. Andif you reside in a community property state, assets that are obtained during the duration of the marriage are considered to be owned jointly. When a marriage ends, they are required to be distributed equally.

A prenuptial contract must meet the following requirements for it to be considered as enforceable and valid:

  • Not opposing public policy or be illegal.
  • Contains full financial disclosure and details.
  • Be in writing and signed.
  • Undertaken voluntarily by both parties.
  • The agreement is notarized.
  • The prenup is fair to both parties.
  • The prenup is completed before the marriage ceremony.

A judge retains the power to invalidate the agreement is it fails to meet one or more of these criteria.

Source: Franson, Margaret. “How Prenuptial Agreements Work.” HowStuffWorks, HowStuffWorks, 21 July 2008, money.howstuffworks.com/personal-finance/financial-planning/prenuptial-agreements.htm.

Contact Our Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers in Scottsdale

Consulting with a talented Scottsdale prenuptial agreement lawyer or family law attorney who is knowledgeable and experienced in drafting and litigating premarital agreements will save you a great deal of grief and expense in the future. Contact Canterbury Law Group today.

*This information is not intended to be used as legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs. 480-240-0040 or [email protected]

Written by Canterbury Law Group

What to Think of Before Marriage – Should You Get a Prenup?

Prenuptial, it isn’t the most pleasant conversation to have while planning out your wedding. For many cases though, a prenup is essential to have. For others though, they can just as easily do without one.

A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that predetermines someone’s property holdings before marriage. The purpose is that someone is ensuring the disposition of the property in case the marriage ends in divorce. Not only that, but it also protects one spouse from the other spouse’s debt if they have any prior to marriage.

How do you know you should get a prenup before marrying? It varies couple to couple, depending on their financial situation, investment account levels, and anything one feels that it should belong to them regardless of whether the marriage survives. However, there are a few important guidelines to consider.

If you’re wondering about prenuptial and other legal matters around marriage, contact your divorce lawyer in Scottsdale for information.

A Prenup Can Usually Speed Up the Divorce Process

Although you don’t enter a marriage with the intent of getting divorced, it can be beneficial to know that a prenup can speed up the process just in case. Without one, you’re likely to spend months in the courtroom discussing legal matters, marital property allocations, and having to decide who gets what.

By signing a prenup, you won’t have to go through the fighting and arguing over the property. Instead, you can simply the matter and move on with your life a lot quicker.

You Can Reach a Fair Deal

Unless your divorce is uncontested and mutual and the two of you can easily agree on who gets what, deciding who gets certain properties from the marriage can be time-consuming, challenging, and frustrating. This is when a divorce can get real ugly quick.
A prenup, if deemed valid by the Court, saves you from all of this. The legal document helps you and your spouse reach a fair arrangement in case of a divorce, usually in a swift and rapid manner.

Protects You From Debt

In today’s world, debt is more common than ever. Signing a prenup can protect you from your spouse’s debt that he or she incurred before the marriage. The legal document will outline what happens with the debt if a divorce occurs. If the debt was not your debt, to begin with, it could save you a lot of money in the long run.

The Downside to a Prenup

One of the most obvious downsides to a prenup is the lack of romance they instill. They can cause issues in a relationship. The partner being asked to sign a prenup may feel like the other partner may not trust him or her. This lack of trust could continue and end up damaging the relationship beyond repair.

Another reason is that many feel a prenup is basically a plan for heading to an ultimate divorce. When someone asks for a prenup, they may not believe the marriage will last. Again, this can cause issues in the relationship, whether or not the person asking for the prenup believes this.

Before asking for a prenup, seriously think about whether or not your situation needs one. Asking for one when the other partner doesn’t agree on it could end up being a deal breaker before the wedding even happens. Prenups provide protection and help settle the worst case scenario, but they can also bring up unpleasant feelings and you may lose your fiancé.

Written by Canterbury Law Group

What You Need to Know About Prenups and Postnups

When it comes to dealing with marital finances, people generally think about two types of spousal contracts: a prenuptial agreement entered into before a marriage and a postnuptial agreement entered into after a marriage.

Sure, most readers have at least heard of a prenuptial (also known as a “prenup” or an antenuptial agreement). Prenups are used to clarify how certain assets and liabilities will be distributed if the marriage were to end in a divorce or a death. While this may seem less-than-romantic, it is actually an important step in marriage for many persons.

A prenuptial agreement can also determine what support from a spouse will look like after a divorce. A prenup is generally used to protect and preserve assets that one person brings into a marriage, however, it can also be used to protect a spouse against the debt of the other. Lastly, prenups can be used to protect the inheritance of children from a previous marriage so that the biological wealth is assured to pass to the biological children from prior marriages.

As you consider filling out a prenuptial agreement, divorce attorneys in Scottsdale recommend that you follow a few important steps. For one, you want to make sure that both parties honestly and completely disclose all assets and liabilities. This disclosure should be overinclusive in the document. In addition, each party should have ample time to read and review the document (with an attorney for each partner) before signing. A prenuptial agreement should be signed by both parties without any fraud or coercion.  Do not under any circumstances sign a prenuptial agreement on the eve of your wedding.  Plan far in advance to give both sides several months to complete the process.

Having said all of this, one significant question remains: what if you didn’t sign a prenup before marriage?

Perhaps your marriage is on the rocks or maybe you just want to protect certain assets that are not secured in writing.  Enter the postnuptial agreement.

These are many reasons why couples decide to form a postnuptial agreement, which is a legal document designed for couples who are already married or in a civil union who wish to contractually change their futures.

Similar to a prenuptial agreement, a postnuptial agreement establishes by contract how a couple’s assets will be divided in the unfortunate event of a divorce, legal separation or death. Furthermore, it establishes any amount of spousal support that one party will pay to the other if the marriage were to end.

If you’re already engaged or on the verge of marriage, consider signing a prenuptial agreement before exchanging vows if you have significant assets or liabilities.   Even if you are currently married without a prenup, it’s never too late. You can sign a postnuptial agreement that will set a lot of things in stone. Trust us when we tell you that you won’t regret it.