A prenuptial agreement is a written contract a couple signs before getting married. It specifies what will happen to their assets if they split up. A premarital contract or prenuptial agreement is a wise way to protect the assets of the individual, can minimize complications that often occur during different divorce proceedings, and even help in determining spousal maintenance or spousal support if a marriage dissolution or divorce occurs. Invest the time and consult with a legal representative that is familiar with prenuptial arrangements before making that trip down the aisle. Call our office, Zentz Law, at 317-678-9463 or email [email protected].
Prenuptial Marriage Agreements Include
In the body of the prenup, there typically is a complete if not exhaustive list of all assets and debts owned by each individual prior to entering a marriage. Some items normally included in a prenuptial agreement are:
- Real estate
- Community and individual property
- Businesses assets and debts
- Student loans
- Marital debts and other financial obligations
After the list is made, agreement then clearly specifies what each person’s share will be if the marriage is dissolved in some form.
When Should You Create a Prenup?
According to a recent study by the APA, nearly 90 percent of people in Western culture get married by the age of 50, and close to half of all marriages end in divorce. Even more alarming, the likelihood of a divorce after a second or third marriage, when there are children and a large number of assets involved is even higher. With that fact in mind, there has been a surge of interest in prenuptial agreements and other forms of premarital contracts. And legal advice from a family law firm in Indiana is needed to protect any potential issues with a future spouse to protect individual and the sanctity of marital property. But what kinds of protections do these contracts offer?
There Are Significant Assets Involved
Traditionally speaking, prenuptial agreements protect the assets of one spouse from division in a divorce. In many cases, any property you own before marriage will be considered a separate asset, but the court might decide to include some of it in the marital estate. A prenuptial agreement allows you to set the terms of the division before issues regarding the marriage arises.
You May Make a Career Sacrifice
Sacrifice is a part of marriage. Many spouses often decide to pass up promotions or give up their careers entirely to stay home with the children. One of you might support the other partner while they work toward an advanced degree to later work in a lucrative profession. If a divorce occurs, a contract agreed upon before marriage can ensure compensation for these sacrifices in the distribution of assets.
You Own a Business
Even if you founded the business before meeting your partner, a judge might consider your interest subject to division, especially if the company enjoyed significant growth during the marriage. A prenuptial agreement allows you to set your business holdings aside as separate property, ensuring you won’t have to manage your company with a former spouse after a divorce.
Premarital Agreements Address Marital Assets
Prenuptial agreements also specify what happens to assets acquired after the marriage. For instance, a couple could agree the money each individual earns after they marry is their own personal income. In a prenup, the couple could also agree to split all income equally, which can be relevant if one partner stays home with the children. There are several things that happen when you get a prenuptial agreement.
Prenuptial Agreements Deal with Children
A prenuptial agreement may define property owned prior to marriage. If there happens to be children from previous relationships, a prenup is negotiated upon before the marriage may help to ensure the children inherit the property you want them to have if the marriage is dissolved through death or divorce.
Provide Protection from Creditors
Individual assets and debts may be clearly specified for each party when a marriage begins. A prenuptial may protect premarital assets if creditors begin to assert claims during the marriage. The agreement may help prove premarital property ownership even if there is no marriage dissolution.
Protect Business’ Interests
If there is an active business or professional practice prior to getting married or if there is a plan to start one during the marriage, having a prenuptial agreement lawyer draw up a prenup may protect your investment. The document will stipulate each party’s interests in business assets, liabilities, and profits.
Decrease Conflicts During a Divorce
Having a prenuptial agreement may save you money and reduce the amount of conflict in the event of a divorce. A strong prenuptial agreement can eliminate arguments over property ownership and debts. A divorce agreement with less conflict may move quicker and result in lower lawyer fees and costs.
Get a Prenuptial Agreement Consultation
Speak with an attorney at Zentz Law to discuss the potential merit of a prenuptial agreement for your marriage. Call our office at 317-677-7169 for a free consultation regarding prenuptial contracts. A legal issue is always easier to address before a legal issue occurs than after the fact. Call today.
Q: What are the differences between premarital agreements, prenuptial agreements, and antenuptial agreements?
A: They are different names for the same thing. A postnuptial agreement occurs after marriage. In divorce, a separation agreement is sometimes referred to as a property settlement agreement, is drafted in conjunction with a divorce or legal separation.
Q: What are the benefits of a prenuptial agreement?
A: The benefits of a prenuptial agreement are immeasurable. Marriage is a legal communion of property. If the marriage ends, deciding how to distribute property is often the most significant source of conflict for couples.
Q: What can and cannot be in a prenuptial agreement?
A: Both parties can include any sort of property can be included in the agreement, such as:
- Checking accounts
- Business ownership
- Personal property
Debts are separate property, which prevents one spouse from being liable for the other’s debts should the marriage dissolve.
Very few states allow specific spousal support agreements in prenuptial agreements since they are often difficult to uphold in court. However, you can state that both parties waive the right to spousal support or spousal maintenance of any kind.
Unfortunately, child support payments cannot be determined in the body of a prenuptial agreement. Expect for a judge in a family court to follow state guidelines to determine the amount of child support payments due if a divorce occurs.
Q: Are prenuptial agreements valid contractual arrangements?
A: Generally speaking, the history of Indiana family court will typically uphold the terms listed in a prenuptial agreements unless one person shows:
- The agreement is likely to promote divorce
- The agreement was written and signed to end in divorce intentionally
- One party is forced to sign
- The agreement is inequitable and unfair
Q: How can I discuss prenuptial agreements with my future spouse?
A: While the media often misrepresents the purpose and the concept of an antenuptial arrangement, the reasoning behind signing a prenuptial agreement is usually often misunderstood. Some individuals might view a prenuptial agreement as an attack on trust. There are times that a future spouse may believe that the other does not love him or her enough to share. To be honest, prenuptial agreements are about protection assets and planning for any future events that could arise. Antenuptial arrangements should be separated from the emotional decisions surrounding a wedding. It makes sense to initiate prenuptial discussions, of some sort, well in advance of the wedding date. Doing so will allow both people to consider the terms of and the rationale behind the agreement without the added pressure of limited periods.
Q: Can a prenuptial agreement be modified after marriage?
A: In short, yes. As long as the agreement and changes are lawful, the terms of the agreement should be modifiable, and any changes must be in writing and signed by both parties. The other terms of the agreement will remain intact unless the parties mutually agree to revoke the entire agreement in writing.