There’s nothing sexy about a prenuptial agreement, which are known to sometimes referred to as Antinuptial Agreement or Premarital Agreements. No one wants to follow, “Will you marry me?” with, “I want a prenup.” Whether you’re just starting out or going into your second or third marriage, creating a prenuptial agreement can do way more than preserve what’s yours. Taking the time to comb through both your assets and your debt can open lines of communication that will last the life of your marriage – and protect you if it comes to an end by divorce or dissolution or protect your estate if you should die while still married.
Today, many lawyers and financial advisors will tell you that nearly everyone should enter a marriage with a prenuptial agreement, not just the rich. You should consider getting a prenup if:
Premarital Agreements not only can protect what property you own when you marry, but they can also protect assets you might acquire down the road. A properly drafted Premarital Agreement can protect you from having to pay off your spouse’s hefty debts that were acquired before or after the marriage This could include student loans, third party debt, medical bills, large credit card debts, mortgages, unpaid medical bills, home equity lines of credit or even 401K loans.
“Good Morning America” personal finance contributor Mellody Hobson explains that Premarital Agreements aren’t always about money. “They can cover everything from a guaranteed ‘date night’ during the marriage to custody of the pets if there’s a divorce,” . “It can also contain provisions about how to handle your affairs upon your death,” she noted.
Courtney Knowles, of the Equality in Marriage Institute, says to think of a prenuptial agreement as an all-purpose safety measure. “Here’s a simple analogy,” he explains. “Every day when we get in the car we put on a seat belt. Not because we’re convinced we’re going to crash that day, but because we’ve learned accidents happen.”
Arlene Dubin, the author of Prenups for Lovers, says talking about these sensitive issues before saying “I do” makes your marriage more likely to succeed. That’s because all of your future spouse’s problems (and debt) will become yours as well unless you keep your assets separate. Making these decisions is even more critical if you’re both bringing children into the mix. (A prenup doesn’t cover the child custody arrangements or child support, but it can specify the type of education and religious faith that you prefer for your child.)
Going into a marriage without a Premarital Agreement means handing the reins of your divorce over to the state and its predetermined laws. However, building certain provisions into your prenup puts the ball back in your court.
Certain qualifications must be met in order to draw up a valid prenup:
Beware of do-it-yourself contracts you may find online, which are often thrown out of court for not meeting the above criteria.
The only way to ensure your prenup is not just valid, but ultimately protects your future, is to bring it to a Columbus high asset divorce attorney. The lawyers at Babbitt & Dahlberg share more than 60 years of experience, and will handle your prenuptial agreement with the respect it deserves. Give us a call at 614-228-4200 or fill out our quick online form to schedule a consultation today.