When most people fall in love and decide to get married, they normally are not thinking about prenuptial agreements. Most marriages simply do not begin with either party considering divorce as a possibility. This is due to our uniquely human condition is emotional beings. It is difficult to see any outcome other than forever when you are in love. But the facts, unfortunately, do not bear this out. In fact, divorce is much more common than marriages that last a lifetime. Half of all first marriages end in divorce, 67 percent of second marriages do as well; and a whopping 74 percent of third marriages end with the parting of ways.
The problem is: when you are talking about money that you have spent your life earning, savings that you worked hard to accumulate or a checking balance that you plan on relying on for security for a long time, you want to look at the statistics and not at how you are feeling at that particular moment. That’s why Scottsdale attorneys recommend prenuptial agreements in every marriage. The prenuptial agreement, or prenup, as it is commonly called, is a way to protect yourself from any unforeseen problems down the road.
Why People Avoid Prenuptials
The main reason the people avoid prenuptial agreements is that they just don’t seem romantic. In fact, most partners do not bring up prenuptial agreements at all because they are afraid that they will offend their partner. But why is this the case? If you are entering into a business relationship with someone, even a friend that you have known more than a decade, you would draw up a contract so that each party was protected. This should work the same with marriage.
Most people think that they only need to sign a prenuptial agreement if they are wealthy. But prenuptial agreements are not just protections against unscrupulous partners who might be more interested in a bank balance then true love; they are actually smart financial planning tools that every marriage should employ. You wouldn’t hire a contractor to build your house without a solid plan in place and protections in case things go south; would you? What you have to remember is that you are not only protecting yourself, but you are protecting your partner as well. If you decide that you want to change a prenuptial agreement, later on, it is really easy to do; so there is no reason not to have one.
First, Second & Third Marriages
Prenups are recommended for first marriages, even for younger couples who do not have a lot of assets at present, but they are much more highly recommended for second and third marriages. Because the divorce rate is so high in these marriages, you should bet on marriage dissolution and make preparations for that. That doesn’t mean that you cannot hope for the best and try to make it work, but in case it doesn’t, you are still protected.
The Future is Unknown
It is highly unlikely that you will be able to predict the future in any significant way. You don’t know how much money you are going to make in the next few years, you probably are not able to predict if you will come into significant amounts of money like an inheritance or even what will happen in your marriage. The prenuptial agreement protects you no matter what the future holds.
The goal of this agreement is to reduce or eliminate the potential for conflict in the future and to prevent all parties involved from experiencing a major financial burden through no fault of their own. By defining exactly what happens with assets and how they will be divided, determining what sort of spousal support will be paid if divorce happens and coming up with guidelines that will be adhered to in the case of a marriage ending, you can ensure that things end fairly for everyone.
Prenuptial agreements can protect one spouse from the other’s debt, ensure that marital assets are divided equally, and prevent one person from having an unfair advantage over the other simply because of the marital laws in the state you are living in. A prenuptial agreement can also help protect children if there are any from the marriage as well as children from previous marriages.
What many people do not realize is that even if you are already married you may still be able to create a prenuptial agreement. The courts will often enforce and honor agreements, even if they are signed after the marriage ceremony has been performed. These are called postnuptial agreements. Postnuptial agreements work just like prenuptial agreements do.
The Reasons for a Prenuptial Agreement
Some of the reasons that people sign prenuptial agreements include keeping finances separate, providing for children from other marriages, protecting one spouse from the other’s debt, clearly defining the division of property and assets if divorce occurs, ensuring that marital responsibilities are laid out in black-and-white, as well as to make tax planning for estates more efficient.
A prenuptial agreement must be voluntary and signed by both parties. It must also be in writing. There are a number of other factors to keep in mind as well and to ensure that a prenuptial agreement contains everything it should and that the language is right, you should talk to an attorney that has experience with these types of agreements.
A lawyer will be able to advise you how to proceed, whether you need a prenuptial or a postnuptial agreement, and give you advice as to what you should put in there, depending upon your current financial profile, how likely your marriage is to end in divorce. There may be other factors that are unique to your situation such as children from a previous marriage. An attorney that has a great deal of experience with prenuptial agreements is absolutely vital and that’s why Scottsdale attorneys at Canterbury Law Group receive so many calls about creating this important legal document. Give us a call and let us help you protect yourself and your family for the future.