“Marry in haste, repent at leisure” goes the old adage. The same can be said for being too quick to enter into a legal prenuptial agreement or prenup. If you and your betrothed want a prenup, don’t rush.
There are numerous good reasons to draw up a premarital agreement. The first is that it prompts candid discussions about finances, which is important for any healthy marriage. Money is one of the biggest reasons married couples’ fight. A prenup can help guide financial decisions during the marriage, not just in case of divorce. Couples can use it to outline the management of household expenses and joint bank accounts, keep finances and businesses separate, and put other arrangements in writing. It can protect one spouse from the other’s debts and establish property rights and distribution in case of death.
Of course, a prenuptial agreement also forces the engaged couple to consider the sad possibility of divorce. If the marriage were to fail, they might wish to protect their family’s property and estate, their own assets in case they remarry, and simply reduce the risk of a long, complicated, costly divorce.
The prenup should be focused on financial matters, not personal obligations such as who does which chores. It doesn’t deal with whether or not to have children, or how kids are to be raised. A premarital arrangement cannot spell out terms for child custody or child support, as those decisions must be made in the best interests of the child, who may not even be born yet. Of course, the prenup cannot make false claims, omit important financial information, or call for anything illegal.
These prenup red flags spell trouble for a white wedding.
By law, the terms should be specific, fair and reasonable. An agreement should stem from honest discussions between the engaged couple, rather than being dictated by one person–or their family. Full disclosure of assets and debts is essential. The agreement must be made without coercion, and should not be signed under duress. Above all, each party should seek the advice of their own legal counsel before they sign a financial agreement before they marry.
Prenup or not, we urge all engaged couples to Ask These Questions Before You Tie the Knot!
With a combined 30 years in family law, the attorneys at Jones Family Law Group, LLC, will provide the legal guidance you need. Contact Jones Family Law Group, LLC today for any questions or to set up a consultation.
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