What is a Pre-Nuptial Agreement and Do I Need One?
A lot of people have heard about pre-nuptial agreements and maybe even have a vague understanding of what they are. They often come into the news when celebrities are getting married and there is discussion of whether they have a pre-nup. And, of course, they are always talked about when celebs and other high-profile people get divorced.
Because of the way pre-nups enter the common conversation, people tend to think that they don’t need one if they aren’t rich and famous and targeted by people trying to take all their money. The reality is that no matter who you are, a pre-nup can have some benefits.
Here’s what a Mesa divorce lawyer would tell you about getting a pre-nup:
What It Is
A pre-nuptial agreement is a contract that you and your betrothed enter into that outlines how assets and debts will be handled in the marriage and – more importantly – in the event of a divorce. It specifies the rights of each party.
When we talk about pre-nuptial agreements in the news, we often hear about terms like a person getting a certain amount of money for each year they were married. Or we hear about provisions like if there was adultery, the offending party gets nothing in the divorce.
These are things that can be included in a pre-nup, but they aren’t as common. Instead, the common pre-nup would include provisions like you get to keep the house you bought before the marriage or your spouse gets to keep the family jewelry.
Pre-nuptial agreements can include rules for how income is managed, how debt is shared, and how assets are shared. The reason for such agreements is to put certain rules in place that the law doesn’t already provide. For example, any property you have would be considered marital property and subject to division with your spouse if you are divorced. If you have a pre-nup, you can create provisions to protect that property and exempt it from the divorce settlement.
Why You Need One
There are a lot of reasons why you may need a pre-nuptial agreement, even if you don’t currently own property or have a lot of other assets.
For example, you may have a special item that you inherited from a beloved family member, like a clock your grandmother gave you or your mother’s wedding ring. You can create a pre-nuptial agreement so that the property is not subject to the division of assets in the divorce.
You might have a business that you started before you got married, and a pre-nuptial agreement can help you protect the business. Even if your business is little more than a one-man startup that you run out of your spare bedroom, your business might grow, and you want to retain your full rights and ownership of that business.
You can also create a pre-nuptial agreement to protect yourself from the debts that you know your betrothed is bringing to the marriage.
Many other reasons exist for a pre-nup, so it’s important that you talk to your beloved and talk to a lawyer about the benefits.
How to Create One
To create a pre-nuptial agreement, you need to work with a lawyer. This is not the kind of document that you want to try to create yourself and get notarized. You would leave yourself open to too many risks since the document could easily be challenged in court.
A good divorce lawyer can help you understand what the parameters of the law are for creating the agreement and can counsel you on issues to consider. Your lawyer will also help you think about ways you need to protect yourself when creating the agreement.
It may seem strange to talk to a divorce lawyer before you even get married, but a divorce lawyer can give you the best advice about how pre-nuptial agreements are treated in court. Talking with the divorce lawyer before your marriage can save you a lot of trouble later if your marriage is dissolved.
My AZ Lawyers can help you put together a pre-nuptial agreement that protects your rights and interests in the marriage. Our Mesa divorce attorneys have many years of experience that give them insights into how to create strong agreements that withstand scrutiny in court. We can also represent clients who need to challenge a pre-nup in a divorce. Call us in Arizona today to learn how one of our divorce lawyers can help you.
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