More and more couples are choosing to sign prenuptial agreements before they get married. These agreements are no longer just for the wealthy. If you are getting married older, if each partner has wealth or assets that they are bringing into the marriage, or if each partner is bringing debts, like student loan debt into the marriage, a prenuptial agreement can clarify which assets and debts belong to each partner. If you have children from another marriage, are bringing pets into your marriage (or plan to get pets) or if you own a business, a prenuptial agreement may be essential to protecting your rights and interests. The Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC, are prenuptial agreement lawyers in Greenville, South Carolina who can help you plan ahead. While the idea of asking your partner to sign a prenuptial agreement can be a delicate subject, the discussions surrounding the document can help you and your partner address major financial questions before you get married. Fights about finances can be one of the leading causes of divorce. Addressing financial expectations before you get married can help you and your partner plan ahead.
How Can A Prenuptial Agreement Protect Me?
A prenuptial agreement is a contractual agreement made between two individuals who plan to get married. While each state might have its own laws about what happens to property and assets during a divorce, couples may not always agree with the way that the state would have them divide their property and assets during a divorce. This is where a prenuptial agreement can help. Even if you plan to set up your prenuptial agreement in accordance with state laws, going through the agreement with your spouse can help you understand which property is separately owned and shared. Furthermore, each state’s community property laws and separate property laws can vary, so even if you choose to use your state’s laws as a guide, this can ensure that if you and your partner move to another state, there won’t be any surprises.
A prenuptial agreement can help you in many ways. It can protect your investments and real estate. While most state laws will indicate that real estate and investments each party brings into the marriage are owned by that person, in some cases, the courts might consider any increased value of real estate or any increased value of investments shared marital property. Couples who want to protect all aspects of their investments might make clear that the property as well as any increases in value are assigned to the spouse that owned the property in the first place. Another situation where things can get confusing is where student loans enter the picture. While loans taken out to pay for school, courses, books, and tuition will generally be considered separate debts, student loans used to pay for living or housing expenses might be considered shared debts. If you want to ensure that student loans are separate debts upon divorce (especially if your partner is still in school), a prenuptial agreement can make this clear. If you own your own business, have children from another marriage, or have any other complex situation, a prenuptial agreement may also be able to protect your interests.
If you are getting married and are considering signing a prenuptial agreement, reach out to the Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC in Greenville, South Carolina. Our firm can review your situation, and help you draft a prenuptial agreement that is right for you. Each person should hire his or her lawyer when signing a prenuptial agreement. Contact the Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC to represent you today.
What Should I Include in my Prenuptial Agreement?
What are some things you should include in your prenuptial agreement? Basically, it depends on your financial situation. Here are some things you may want to consider:
- Identify who owns what. Whatever property you bring into the marriage that you want to keep—whether it be a car, boat, real estate, or a grandmother’s antiques—should be clearly specified as yours in the prenuptial agreement.
- Identify separate savings and investments accounts. If you are bringing in your own savings account or investment account, identifying these accounts as separate may be wise. The Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC is a divorce lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina who can also advise you about additional steps you may need to take to protect these accounts. For example, you may not want to add money to these accounts after you get married, to make clear that all money added to the account was money added prior to your marriage.
- If you or your partner are bringing debts into the marriage, specifying which debts are separate or shared is also important.
- Expectations regarding finances. The prenuptial agreement is a great time to talk about financial expectations for the marriage. How much is each partner expected to contribute? How much money will be saved, and how much money will be spent? What is a reasonable budget for discretionary income—for example, money spent on dinners, clothes, and other indulgences? Addressing these issues now can make a big difference.
- If you or your future partner have children from another marriage or another partner, you’ll want to specify which of your assets belong to your children and which will belong to your spouse.
- If you plan to adopt a pet or if you are bringing a pet into the marriage, it is important to specify how pet custody will be arranged should you get divorced. Many states consider pets property and many courts may not have provisions for shared custody of pets. Addressing this in your prenuptial agreement can protect your rights.
- If one partner makes more than the other, if one partner will be making significant contributions to the other partner’s education, or if one partner will be staying home to raise kids, the issue of alimony may be addressed in a prenuptial agreement.
- Business and other assets. If you own your own business, make money from an application you have developed, or otherwise have income through royalties or other intellectual property, you may want to specify in your prenuptial agreement which interests are shared interests and which are separate. During divorce, a partner could try to claim a share of your business. It is imperative if you own your own business that you protect your rights.
These are just some of the things that should be considered when drafting a prenuptial agreement. However, there are things that a prenuptial agreement cannot address. For example, child custody and child support cannot be addressed in a prenuptial agreement. If you have questions about what you can and cannot include in your prenuptial agreement, reach out to the Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC, a divorce lawyer in Greenville, South Carolina. Our firm can help you create a prenuptial agreement that will protect your rights.
How to Sign a Prenuptial Agreement
The time to create a prenuptial agreement is soon after you’ve gotten engaged and before you send invitations to your wedding in the mail. Prenuptial agreements signed too soon before the wedding run the risk of being invalidated by the courts because prenuptial agreements cannot be made under duress. Both parties must enter freely into the agreement, both parties should be represented by their own attorneys, and the agreement must be properly notarized and signed.
If you need to work on your prenuptial agreement, contact the Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC, divorce lawyers in Greenville, South Carolina today. Our firm can review your financial situation, help you identify areas where you’ll need to protect yourself, and draft a prenuptial agreement that will be in your best interests. Contact the Hayes Law Firm Upstate Attorneys, LLC today.