There are many reasons you may want to enter into a prenuptial agreement with your spouse. Most people have misconceptions about the purpose of a prenup and who should consider one. Here are just a few facts that can help you assess whether you should meet with a lawyer to discuss a prenup before you get married.
1. Prenups Are Private
A prenuptial agreement is a private contract. You do not have to worry that your family members, children or anyone else will know the contents of a prenup, particularly if you include a confidentiality clause in the agreement. The details of a prenuptial agreement stay between you, your spouse, and your attorney.
2. Prenups Aren’t Just for the Rich
Generally, couples sign a prenup to protect assets they have before marriage. While most people assume it benefits the wealthier spouse, it also gives the other party the opportunity to see the full financial picture. Because disclosure is part of the negotiation process, both spouses have to be open about the assets they own.
In addition, prenups let couples decide on matters such as spousal support and issues related to the children, which are important regardless of how much money you may have. The need for a prenuptial agreement does not hinge on the expansiveness of your assets—anyone can and should negotiate a prenuptial agreement.
3. Prenups Should Be Negotiated Early
Planning a wedding is stressful enough, so many couples may put off negotiating a prenup. However, this should be taken care of at least a few months before the wedding, in order to give both parties time to consider the terms. If you rush through the contract before getting married, a judge may be more tempted to throw it out should a marital asset issue ever come to court.
4. Prenups Can Also Be Postnuptial Agreements
Prenups guard against unknown events and typically help spouses keep their assets. However, your opinion of how assets should be split may change after you get married. A postnuptial agreement allows spouses to revise the terms of their earlier arrangement. A contract can change and grow with the needs of the parties, and it generally can be revised at any time.
5. Prenups Are Generally Enforceable
Like any contract, a court can say that a prenup is unenforceable. However, as long as it follows contractual guidelines, a court should enforce its terms. Not rushing the process and fully disclosing all assets help eliminate any chance a court will declare the contract invalid.
Premarital agreements aren’t offensive to either side. Your individual circumstances will affect the specific terms of your prenuptial agreement. Speak with an attorney today about how you can protect yourself and eliminate worry as you enter into a new phase of life. See how our experienced attorneys at Arkansas Estate Planners can help you today, by contacting us at (501) 414-8965 for a consultation.