Deciding whether to get a prenup can be a difficult decision for many couples, and for lots of them, it can cause tension in the relationship. Before you choose to either create a prenuptial agreement or get married without one, it is important that both you and your future spouse understand what a prenup is, what it means to have one and what it can and cannot contain.
Unfortunately, there are many lies surrounding prenups that are all too easy to believe and make people confused and anxious at a time when they should be looking forward to their wedding day and married life together.
Here are some of the most common lies surrounding prenuptial agreements and why they are incorrect:
1. You have to be rich to have a prenup.
We often hear of the rich and famous making sure they have strict, binding prenuptial agreements in place before they walk down the aisle. However, it is important to understand that these agreements are available to everyone. You do not have to have expensive assets and hundreds of thousands of dollars in the bank, and the agreement does not have to focus on the division of assets and property. Prenuptial agreements can be used to help guide the couple in all manner of personal affairs should their relationship come to an end. If they have children from a different relationship, for example, a prenup could be useful to clarify what will happen to assets if the parent of the child should die. They can also be used to define the roles and responsibilities of each individual in the marriage or even to protect against debt that one spouse has acquired.
2. If you have a prenup, you will probably get divorced.
Getting a prenup does not invalidate your relationship or mean that you love one another any less. It does not mean that your future is doomed before you have even begun. Lots of very happily married couples have prenups in place because, for them, it makes good sense to have a practical, legally binding agreement to help make things smoother, easier, and more amicable should the marriage dissolve.
3. You cannot get out of a prenup.
While a prenuptial agreement is a legal document, it does not always translate that the prenup will be enforceable should the couple end their marriage. Different states are guided by various laws and can decide whether or not to enforce the agreement. There are also certain situations which might make the prenup invalid, for example, if one party can prove that they were forced to sign it against their will, there was no disclosure, or it was not executed within a reasonable time prior to the marriage. Additionally, the parties can both voluntarily rescind a prenuptial agreement if they both decide to do so at any time after its execution or after the wedding. In fact, many couples decide to revise their agreements after the marriage and once they have children and enter into post-nuptial agreements.
4. Having a prenup means there is a lack of trust.
Having a prenup does not mean that you think your partner is going to run off with the postman! While everyone has different motivations for getting a prenup, most do so because they want to clearly define their financial responsibilities in the marriage, gain clarity around inheritance issues, and keep control over their assets. Creating a legal prenup is about the couple working together honestly and openly and coming up with terms they both feel are just and fair. In fact, it is responsible to map out a plan when both parties are in love, rather than fight over the details of what to most can be a stressful and chaotic period in a divorce. A prenuptial agreement can help both partners feel secure and confident of their future. If you need legal help drafting your prenup, hire an experienced marital and family law practitioner to assist you with the critical issues relevant to your matter.