Are you risking your relationship and perhaps a marriage by asking for a prenup? What is a prenuptial agreement and when should you consider asking for a prenup?
A prenuptial agreement is simply a contract which establishes existing property and financial accounts, intellectual property, business ownership or debt and how it will be handled in the future, including the event of a divorce.
Prenuptial agreements are not designed to deprive or take advantage of a future spouse. In fact, using the prenuptial agreement in an illegal way or attempting to coerce a partner into signing one prior to marriage is against the law. For example, you cannot use a prenuptial agreement to determine issues of child custody or support. Each party must have ample time under the law to review the proposed agreement and seek the advice of counsel.
However, the threat “I won’t marry you unless you agree to a prenuptial agreement” does not constitute grounds to throw out the agreement, as long as each party had adequate time to seek the advice of counsel and to consider it prior to signing.
So, what are some of the many reasons a soon to be spouse should be asking for a prenup?
Would it surprise you to know that one of the major purposes for a prenuptial agreement is not assets, but debts?
Perhaps one or both of the parties have student loans and other debts which are unequal to their future spouse’s obligations. It might be wise to specify how these debts will remain the responsibility of that spouse should a divorce ever occur.
One of the more common reasons is a second marriage which will blend families. Perhaps each partner has a child or children from their previous marriage and the parent wants to make sure each child will inherit specific funds or assets or some share of marital property.
Perhaps you may need to consider asking for a prenup because there is an important family heirloom, a family business or even a future expected inheritance which needs to remain in your birth family. Perhaps one of the potential spouses has already written a book, music or created artwork or other assets which might presently have value or represent possibilities of future income.
Asking for a prenup has never been shown to be an indicator of a future divorce. Quite the contrary. One of the best indicators of the potential success of any marriage is the ability of the future spouses to be honest about complex issues and finances and openly discuss potential challenges and opportunities. The ability to openly and forthrightly discuss issues surrounding money, assets and intellectual property actually demonstrates the viability of any potential partnership, especially a marriage.
Learn more about asking for a prenup and how to protect your own interests and contact Burke & Domercq or call 760-434-3330 to schedule an appointment for a remote or socially distanced consultation with one of our experienced Certified Family Law Specialists.