Prenuptial Agreements Break Through the Mask of Euphoria

elderly couple signing a prenuptial agreement before marriage

Men and women have been celebrating Valentine’s Day since at least the 17th century. Most people celebrate with candy, flowers, and cards. Others get down on one knee with an expensive ring in hand.

If you were fortunate enough to give or receive a proposal on February 14th, your heart is probably still aflutter with the strike of Cupid’s arrow and your everlasting love. However, behind the euphoria lies the reality of divorce.

The Mask of Euphoria

No one wants to believe divorce will happen to them, but even the strongest couples are in danger of growing apart. People change, fall out of love, or travel different paths than they originally intended. And when we hide from the possibility of divorce, we forget to protect ourselves—and our assets—from future turmoil.

The Prenuptial Agreement

Despite popular belief, you do not need to be a celebrity or multi-millionaire to draft a prenuptial agreement. A Prenuptial agreement (or prenup) is a written contract that protects each party from fraud or unfair distribution of assets.

Separate vs. Community Property

When considering a prenuptial agreement, you must understand the difference between separate and community property.

Assets and debts accumulated prior to marriage are known as separate property. Assets and debts acquired during a marriage are considered community property.

When a couple divorces, only community property is divided equally among both parties. However, separate property often becomes tangled in community property. Prenups help solidify the division between separate and community property.

Key Advantages of Prenuptial Agreements

  • Couples do not divide outstanding debts brought into the marriage.
  • Protects the inheritance for a child from a previous marriage.
  • Clarifies financial responsibilities—joint accounts, credit cards, retirement accounts, and household bills—and sets guidelines for gambling, stock trading, donations, tithing, and child bank accounts.
  • Protects the assets of businesses started prior to the marriage, preventing liquidation, division, or the sale of the business.
  • Provides financial protection if you must give up a lucrative job because of the marriage.
  • Can ease the stress in a marriage.
  • Avoids lengthy and costly arguments and mediations during a divorce.

Key Disadvantages of Prenuptial Agreements

  • May look like you’re not serious about the relationship, are negative about the marriage, or are planning to divorce sometime in the future.
  • May cause animosity or lack of trust.
  • May require you to surrender the right to inherit your spouse’s estate if they die.
  • May not acquire the increase in the value of a spouse’s business.
  • May not sustain the lifestyle you setup during the marriage.

Should You Get a Prenup?

Not all couples need a prenup, but if you have large assets going into the marriage, such as a business or a house, drafting a prenup is a sensible, rational decision. Call King Law Firm Attorneys at Law, Inc. to learn more before your I dos turn into I don’ts.

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