Prenuptial agreements – something for the rich, right? Many couples are starting to get prenuptial agreements, and the truth is that not everybody needs one. If a couple is just getting married and they have virtually no assets to their name, a prenuptial agreement may not offer the same benefits as it would for a person that does have a lot of assets. This is why you see many rich people seeking these agreements because they have a lot to lose if they do get divorced.
Do I Need a Prenuptial Agreement?
The first step in the process is determining if a prenup is truly worthwhile. A few of the most common reasons to get an agreement written up by a lawyer, include:
- Kids From Another Marriage: One or both spouses have been married before, or have children that they did not have together. This is a great reason to get a prenuptial agreement written up because the agreement may allow for the division of property to include the children. For example, if an agreement is not in place, the majority of a person’s assets would go to their spouse if a will was not available. A prenuptial agreement allows for children from previous marriages to receive family heirlooms, or to have money set aside for them.
- Protection From Debt: Engaged couples can protect themselves from debt that accrued before marriage. If you or your potential spouse has a lot of debt, an agreement may be in your best interest, so it’s not passed onto your spouse.
- Financial Rights: Couples state that finances are the biggest reason for a divorce. You can clarify financial rights in your agreement, so that both parties know what their financial responsibilities are during the marriage.
- You Have Assets: If you own a business or have a large bank account, you may want to safeguard yourself against the divorce. A prenuptial agreement will ensure that the money and assets that you had prior to the marriage will remain only in your name, and they will not be allowed to be considered marital property.
There was a time when a prenuptial agreement would not have been viewed fairly in all courts. Now, prenuptial agreements are available in every state in the United States. But these agreements need to be written up in accordance with state laws. It is possible to write your own agreement, but it’s better to have a lawyer help you with the process to ensure that your agreement is valid and justified under law.
It’s also important to understand that you may own a business, for example, and this may be part of your prenuptial agreement. You would have a right to the value of the business when you got married, but your spouse may be entitled to some of the income from the business if you were to get divorced. If your wife helped you get through business hardships and help the business grow while married, when you get divorced, this will be taken into consideration when looking at a prenuptial agreement.
The added value to your assets or business during the marriage would be considered marital property.
The Micklin Law Group, LLC is a New Jersey law firm specializing in family law and estates. Attorney Brad Micklin was recently named to The National Advocates list of Top 100 attorneys from each state. To set up a consultation, call 973-562-0100.