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Prenuptial Agreements

Whether you like it or not, state rules and family court judges write each married couple a prenup that determines rights and obligations for divorce or death. You can opt out of these automatic rules by arriving at an agreement that reflects your values, morals, and beliefs. Your reasoned prenuptial agreement can reflect your actual wishes rather than the cookie-cutter system the state imposes on those who don’t bother.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A Prenuptial Agreement is a binding contract between two people negotiated before the marriage. Because it is a contract, each party must have separate legal representation. A Prenuptial Agreement is a contract in the same manner that two business partners negotiate terms before starting a corporation. The best contracts are those that are win-win. In this spirit, the best Prenuptial Agreements provide both parties with fair and balanced protection.

Example: George calls our office to set up a meeting with himself and his fiance, Judith. They wish to talk about the terms of a Prenup Agreement.  We inform them that we can only represent one of them in the negotiation.  George then retains us, explains the terms of the Agreement, and we draft the document to present to Judith. Judith is free to have her lawyer advise her.

What Does a Prenuptial Agreement Do?

A Prenup binds the two parties to terms so that they have agreed on legal rights if the marriage doesn’t work or if one of the parties should die. While each Prenup can be different, depending on your specific assets and goals, many prenups address what should happen to assets should the marriage end in divorce, how much support the parties must provide each other, and what rights a party should have if the other person dies.

Example: George and Judith have a binding Prenup.  The terms spell out that there will be no alimony, but George will pay Judith $100,000.00 if they divorce. After eight years, the marriage ends.  They avoid costly litigation.  George pays Judith the agreed $100,000.00, and the marriage ends peacefully.

Who Should Get a Prenup?

Every person can benefit from a Prenuptial Agreement. They may not be romantic or sexy, but a Prenuptial Agreement allows couples to voice financial expectations and concerns. If these issues remain unspoken, they can fester. If the marriage ends, a prenuptial agreement can save a couple of years of turmoil, conflict, and attorney fees. A Prenuptial Agreement protects family assets as well as closely held businesses. Having a Prenuptial Agreement doesn’t mean that you are anticipating a failed marriage; it means that you are honest with each other.

Example: George owns a small amount of his family’s business, and his parents plan to leave him more. His prenup with Judith states that any ownership he has in this business is his own Separate Property.  Should they divorce, she has no claim to the family business, and the business is not dragged into a costly divorce.

What Is in a Prenup Agreement?

A Prenup can be very narrow or very broad. A Prenuptial Agreement will vary depending on your particular assets and goals. Typically, a Prenup addresses what will happen in the case of divorce. For example, what happens to the property that each person brings to the marriage?  What happens to assets created during the union?  And what happens to inherited assets? A Prenup usually addresses alimony.

What Are the Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement?

Every marriage benefits from frank, open talk about finan es. Disputes over money are a primary cause of divorce. A Prenuptial Agreement allows both people to speak their minds and address the unpleasant idea of what should happen if the marriage fails. Further, what should happen if one of them dies unexpectedly?

Entering a Marriage Informed and Avoiding Disputes

Investing in a reasoned agreement on how to divide assets if a marriage ends and what rights exist should one person die avoids devastating conflict and expensive litigation. A little money spent now can save huge expenses later on. Further, financial disputes are a reason why marriages fail. Investing in a Prenuptial Agreement allows a couple to talk about finances and ensure both people enter the wedding with a complete understanding of the other person’s financial expectations. A small amount of negotiation between a couple before marriage can avoid heated disputes after the marriage.

Example: George and Judith believed they were in full agreement about their finances.  But, when they started outlining their Prenup, Judith discovered that George had thought that if she died, he would inherit all of her assets.  Judith has children from her prior marriage and wants her assets to pass on to her children. After some negotiations, they agreed that should Judith die before George, George could stay in her house, rent-free, as long as he used it as his primary residence and paid all the carrying costs. The Prenup process allowed them to address a touchy subject and come to a reasonable compromise.

Standard Prenup Questions

What is a Prenup?

A Prenup is short for Prenuptial Agreement. A Prenup Agreement is a binding contract between the couple before the marriage. A Prenup Agreement can be narrow or broad, addressing many marriage aspects. Typically, the Prenup addresses financial aspects of divorce, property division, and rights should one spouse die.

Can a Prenup Allow Me to Keep Assets Separate?

Yes, a Prenuptial Agreement identifies what assets are separate property. You can then keep your separate property in a Revocable Living Trust or even transfer it into an Irrevocable Trust.

What Does Prenuptial Mean?

Prenuptial means before the marriage. A Prenup is signed before the wedding ceremony. Afterward, it takes a different form from that of a Postnuptial Agreement.

If We Might Not Marry but Want to Live Together, Can We Have a Prenuptial Agreement?

Yes, but it takes the form of a Cohabitation Agreement.

What is a Premarital Agreement? Is a Premarital Agreement Different From a Prenup?

A Premarital Agreement is just another way of saying Prenuptial Agreement.

Can an LGBT Couple Have a Prenup?

Yes, same-sex couples have the same legal obligations as other married people, and addressing mutual commitments is vital.

Can People Entering a Second Marriage Have a Prenup?

Yes. Second marriages are likely to have issues that need a prenup. Addressing the rights of children from prior marriages and how to address houses in only one person’s name are typical examples.

Can a Prenup Address How We Share Real Estate?

Yes, this is a typical issue to address.  If one or both of you own your own real estate, it is important to address how these assets will be treated if you divorce or die.  Especially if the non-ower spouse plans to continue to live in your house if you die.

Concierge Service: One Task or the Entire Process; It’s What We Do!

We are flexible. We have a Prenup Agreement Lawyer who can help you with one or two issues, or we can take on the entire process. Implementing a Prenup Agreement’s terms might require signing Wills, creating Trusts, or altering beneficiary designation. Unlike other firms, we have a whole department of Estate Planning and Prenuptial Attorneys. Exceptionally few practices can provide you with that depth of experience.

What Your Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer Will Do for You:

We have an experienced Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer ready to help you with any task, but people most often have us help with the following:

  • Representing your interests. Though your fiancee does not have to hire their lawyer, a Prenuptial Agreement is a contract between two parties, and you are our client.
  • We listen to your concerns.
  • We draft the Prenuptial Agreement for your fiancee’s review. Or, we review your fiancee’s Prenup with you.

Reasonable Prices | Years of Experience | We Make Asset Protection and Estate Planning Easier

If you have any questions about Prenuptial Agreements or other estate planning topics, please get in touch with us to schedule a free consultation. Klenk Law has focused only on Estate Law for over two decades. We’ve seen it all, and this experience allows us to explain complex estate planning techniques clearly and concisely. We make it easy for you to understand Prenuptial Agreements and Asset Protection to make the best decisions for yourself and your family.

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