The New York Times recently published an article that stated “if you want a prenup, you don’t want marriage.” This is definitely not the case when it comes to a prenuptial agreement. When one party has a lot of assets, it is within his or her best interest to protect these assets when a marriage occurs.
Without a prenuptial agreement, a divorce can happen within a year or two, and all of these assets would be divided amongst both parties.
When you enter into a marriage, you form a legal entity wherein both parties are now responsible for the assets they own and the debts they accrue during the marriage. It’s essential that you protect yourself so that your personal assets can be considered non-marital.
Went to Get a Prenuptial Agreement
A prenuptial agreement should be considered when any of the following criteria is met:
- One partner makes significantly more money than the other partner.
- One partner brings wealth to the marriage or high valued assets.
- You are remarrying and your assets may be distributed to children that are not of your current marriage. With a prenup, you can ensure that your assets are divided with your previous family and your new family according to your wishes.
- In the event that your partner has high debt, a prenuptial agreement will protect you against this debt.
If you are starting a marriage with a clean slate, (i.e. you don’t have debt, you have very little assets and your bank accounts are not filled with money), a prenuptial agreement is not a necessity. These agreements will protect the assets, money and items that you have prior to the marriage so that if a divorce happens, these assets cannot be brought into question during a divorce.
Family heirlooms or real estate properties that were left to you or owned prior to the marriage would be perfect examples of items that would be added into a prenuptial agreement. This would allow you to keep ownership of these items even after divorce.
What Can a Prenuptial Agreement Protect?
A prenuptial agreement can protect the following:
- Spouses from premarital debt
- Provide for children from a previous marriage or relationship
- Keep assets, such as family property, within the family
- Protect an estate plan
- Detailed responsibilities of the marriage
You may include a business, retirement benefits, bank accounts, savings accounts and various other items within the prenuptial agreement. It’s important to discuss these options with your potential spouse, and make a lengthy list of the assets you want to protect to discuss with a lawyer prior to being married.
If you have items that you would like to keep even if the divorce occurs, a prenuptial agreement is a smart choice.
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.