Pre and Post Nuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements are not just for the wealthy, neither are post-nuptial agreements.

With a prenuptial agreement, you can protect your assets and your family. There are a number of things you can put in an agreement. You can stipulate who receives what in the case of divorce, protect yourself from each other's debt, spell out what is yours, provide for children from a previous marriage, and more.

Similarly, a post nuptial agreement, a document created after you've been married, makes clear issues that have cropped up since you said "I do" – perhaps an inheritance, or shields you from liability if your partner opens a business that encounters trouble, for example.

Nobody wants to think that their marriage won't work or that mid-course you will need to make "adjustments". However, because fights about finance can lead right to the door of divorce, there is something to be said for talking about money from the outset and even later in your marriage, before things deteriorate. You both will know where you stand and have a sense about expectations. Not only do you get clarity, but in the event of a divorce, many issues will be settled, meaning less work for attorneys, and ultimately more money in both of your pockets.

Whichever safety net you choose, there's much to consider.

Do's

Make sure your agreement is valid

These agreements are only as good as they are crafted and managed. Know the rules. The agreement must be signed by both parties in front of a notary to be valid.

Hire an attorney

You may be blinded my love, such that you will tempted to agree to things that may not be in your interest. Have an attorney who specializes in family law help you through the process. You want an agreement that you're happy with today and in the future.

Dont's

Avoid extremes

Realize that you must be reasonable and conscionable. You can't stipulate anything you want. For example, the courts will not give a nod to agreements that restrict child support, custody or visitation rights. State laws vary about what you can and cannot put into a pre or post-nup agreement. That's a good question for your attorney.

Furthermore, if spousal support provisions are not fair and reasonable under the law, they may be set aside and the court will fix the support terms.

Stick to the numbers

If you clutter up your agreement with a litany of non financial stuff, like who does what chores or whether you can have pets, a judge may look askance, and not take either of you seriously. Keep your documents to the hard core financials and keep that other business for resolution elsewhere.

Forget about pulling a fast one

Whether you're signing a pre or post-nup both of you have to be of sound mind at the time, not under the influence of drugs or alcohol or under duress. Do so, and you may as well crumble that agreement because it won't hold up in court.

Categories: Divorce