Misconceptions of Signing a Prenup
Getting married is one of the most exciting life events. You’ve decided to settle down with a certain someone, and you’ve committed the rest of your future to that person. Marriage is not only the union of the two individual people but also a union of every different element of your lives, including property, finances, and general way of life. Before heading down the aisle, you may want to consider having a prenuptial agreement on file. While it may not be the most romantic aspect of your wedding planning, it will set up both parties with a secure understanding of what would happen if things ultimately don’t work out. When it comes to having a prenup, many common misconceptions influence making this important decision.
Divorce impacts around 50% of marriages. This sad truth should be considered when entering a marriage. One of the most common misconceptions is that you would be planning the divorce before planning the actual wedding. Few couples enter marriage assuming that divorce is inevitable. A prenup isn’t your divorce plan, but it can protect you if the unexpected happens.
A prenuptial agreement establishes property and financial rights for each spouse. Another misconception is that entering a prenuptial agreement shows a lack of trust and commitment. This often arises when a spouse waits until closer to the wedding to express their desire to have a prenup. It is important to address this topic early so that it doesn’t appear that it’s an act of cold feet. In truth, entering a prenuptial agreement is relatively common, and it offers both individuals a chance to lay out their financial needs and concerns before entering a marriage.
Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement
While it isn’t the most romantic aspect of planning your life together and you may wonder if you need a prenup, there are numerous benefits to signing one before your big day. Finances play a significant role in any marriage. Depending on your situation, your finances can influence many decisions you make together. By signing a prenup, you are forced to face financial matters early on. Once financial expectations are out on the table, both parties can determine how their unmarried finances will play a role in their marriage and how they should handle finances while married.
The state of California is a community property state. This means that in the event of a divorce, without a prenuptial agreement, all property accumulated during the marriage would be equally divided. While this is agreeable to some couples, others may have a more complicated situation where equal division wouldn’t make sense. A prenup can protect any personal or business assets that accumulated before the marriage. Going through a divorce is difficult enough without having to end in a battle of finances. This agreement also helps preserve family ties and inheritance. This is especially important when your financial situation includes any children from previous relationships. A prenup can also spell out where assets should go in the event of death. By entering this agreement, you are both protecting your financial past and future.
What a Prenup Doesn’t Do
In California, individuals can draft their own prenuptial agreements. An important aspect to consider is that without a legal background, you may include information that could lead to your prenup being invalid. You both must seek legal counsel to ensure that both parties are providing necessary information and that in the event of a divorce, your prenup would still be valid. There are a few things that you can’t include in a prenup. These include:
- Issues of child support or custody
- A spouse’s illegal activities
- Using unfair, unjust, or terms that are deceptive in nature
- Requirements of a personal, not financial, nature—such as expecting a spouse to lose weight or make changes to their appearance, etc.
The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA) dictates the requirements for the state of California. It is essential to be aware of what a prenup should and shouldn’t include. It is meant to help secure both parties, not to favor one spouse over the other.
Things to Consider
Marriage is a big decision. Prenuptial agreements can still be an excellent option for couples who are secure and confident in their relationship. Misconceptions about such agreements (that your relationship lacks trust or commitment, and that you are planning for divorce) couldn’t be further from the truth. A healthy relationship begins with two people who can be completely open and honest with each other.
A prenup allows the couple a chance to review their current financial situation, as well as the one they will build together. Many individuals could benefit from signing such an agreement. This includes people who have assets before their marriage, single parents, business owners, grandparents, and other business professionals. Prenups can also help with any debts accumulated before marriage. In the unfortunate event of death, a spouse could be protected against taking on those debts.
When you’ve decided to sign a prenuptial agreement, be sure that you have read the document in its entirety. If there is any unfamiliar terminology, it is important to ask for and receive clarifications and definitions. Consult an attorney who specializes in such agreements to ensure that your document is valid and follows state rules and regulations. Be sure to consider everything thoroughly. Ultimately, you want to do what is best for yourself in the long term. You should never sign any documents that would harm you later in life.
Find Experienced Legal Representation
The most effective way to draft a prenuptial agreement is with the help of an experienced and compassionate attorney. When entering this agreement, it is beneficial that both parties have separate representation. This helps avoid any bias and allows everyone to feel equally represented. A prenuptial agreement does not mean you think your marriage will end; there are numerous reasons people make these agreements. If you feel you are ready to further explore your options, the attorneys at Bickford, Blado, and Botros are here to help.
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