While no one wants to go into a marriage discussing a divorce, a pre-nuptial agreement is a good idea for any couple who is bringing assets into the marriage. Divorces occur for many reasons and a pre-nuptial agreement can help you avoid a long, expensive court battle.
What is a Pre-Nuptial Agreement?
A pre-nuptial, pre-nup, or pre-marital agreement is a legal document that spells out how to divide property and assets should a couple divorce. While a well-written pre-nup will usually hold up in court, there are different conditions that must be met depending on where you live. It’s advisable to hire an experienced attorney to draw up your agreement to ensure that it will be honored by the courts should you divorce.
Who Can Benefit from a Pre-Nup?
When you mention a pre-nup, most people think of the rich and famous, but you don’t have to be a celebrity to benefit from the preparation and security of a prenuptial agreement.
- Own your own business?
- Have or expect assets from an inheritance?
- Have assets, antiques or personal treasures that you wouldn’t want to lose?
If you want to ensure with certainty that you won’t lose these items in a divorce, you need to have a solid pre-nuptial agreement in place before you get married. While you can’t limit future child support or child custody and visitation with a prenup, you can protect future earnings from an inheritance and/or your business.
What Else Can You Do?
There are additional steps you can take to protect your assets in conjunction with a prenup. You and your spouse can maintain separate bank accounts and keep all of your real estate in your respective names. If you are married and you immediately add your spouse’s name to all real estate deeds, a judge is probably going to believe that your intention was to give them half of the asset. You should discuss these additional steps, and their effectiveness, with your attorney as laws vary by state.
While you probably don’t want to think about divorce before you get married, bear in mind that about 50% of marriages end with divorce. It makes sense to protect yourself if you are entering the union with personal assets.
You will want to work with an attorney that specializes in pre-nuptial law as doing so will keep you from making mistakes that could potentially get your prenup overturned. If you’re in St. Paul, Minnesota, contact us today and we’ll schedule you for an appointment and consultation.