Why knowing the details can help save your relationship

What truly is a prenup?

When asked to sign a prenup, it can cause a hurricane of emotions. It often causes people to feel as if their fiancée doesn’t trust them or know them. We understand that many thoughts and feelings are connected with prenups, so we will help you maneuver through this complex concept.

We found through our research that prenups do not need to imply a lack of trust or lack of confidence that the marriage will last. Therefore, we want to help couples face this crucial conversation about their finances and their future.

We’ve created a guide to answer questions about navigating your prenup.

Prenup – What is it?

A prenup, formally known as a prenuptial agreement, is a contract between an engaged couple. The contract outlines the couple’s rights and responsibilities regarding any premarital and marital assets and debts. More importantly, why do so many couples argue about prenups? What will happen should the marriage end in death or divorce.

The main talking point that a prenup arises is goals about finances, attitudes about money, accrued debts, and spending and saving habits. Sandy Roxas, a Family Law Litigator and Mediator, highlights the importance of financial conversations before marriage because “money issues are one of the leading causes of divorce.” That means that having conversations like these before the wedding “can help build the foundation for a stronger and long-lasting union.”

Postnup vs. Prenup

Let’s begin by opening up the options outside of a pre-marriage contract. A postnup agreement is very similar to a prenup. A postnuptial agreement is signed during or after the tying of the knots. They are just as enforceable as each other.

The reason for signing a postnuptial agreement can lie in similar grounds for a prenuptial agreement. However, it is more common for unexpected changes in finances. These unpredictable finances can include forthcoming inheritance, sale of a company, or large liquidation. Another option is that the couple did not finish negotiating their prenup and chose to finish it post marriage.

What is the cost of a prenup?

The range of prenups is vast, anywhere between $1,200 to $15,000. It should be noted that if the estate is complicated, then the price can rise. Canterbury Law Group lets couples know that some lawyers “will charge hourly fees and others will work on a flat fee,” it all depends.

Postnups are more costly than prenups because the marital property must now be considered for the couple. Elizabeth Green Lindsay, Esq., ensures that “a well-drafted agreement can be worth its weight in gold” if there is a divorce.

When should you begin the prenup process?

Prenup negotiations can take months of back-and-forth changes. So, the experts advise couples to begin the process as soon as possible to give themselves enough time to feel happy with their final product pre-marriage. The best advice we can offer is to finalize one at least 30 days before the wedding date.

The party that retains the attorney is usually the party that earns the most income. The party whose attorney has not drafted the prenup needs to receive the contract at least a week before signing. This time allows for negotiations and possible edit suggestions. Once the draft is finalized, it must have proof that both parties chose to enter the agreement and were not entered into it under duress or undue influence.

Do you need separate lawyers?

In our previous section, we discuss the roles of attorneys, so should each person get their own lawyer? Our advice? Yes! A lawyer who represents both parties has a conflict of interest. When only one party has a lawyer, it can cause the other person to be at a considerable disadvantage. Separate lawyers guarantee equal chances for fair negotiations in the prenup process.

Can you create your own prenuptial agreement?

The simple answer is yes. However, there are many specifics to be wary of when creating your own prenup agreement. As couples do not always understand legal ambiguities, online forms are available for use. The main concern is making sure your form complies with all state laws to guarantee its legality. The easiest way of securing a legal DIY prenup is to hire a lawyer to review the form.

The overarching risks about creating your own prenup are really about the specifics of state laws. Suppose you feel confident about creating your own prenup and finalize the legal document with a lawyer at the end of the process. In that case, it is ultimately your right to follow that path. We advise that you are careful with the process.

Can you add custody and child support terms to a prenup?

It doesn’t hurt to add terms and conditions involving child custody. However, the courts will decide what is in the child’s best interest at the time of the court date. If the child’s interest does not follow the terms set in the prenup, the courts outweigh the prenup. This means that it genuinely doesn’t matter what you put on your prenup, as the court rule will be the final decision. All it does will help guide expectation, not guarantee actions, post-divorce.

In recent years, it has become more common to add clauses about pets within prenups. Many states across the country recognize pet custody when it comes to divorce. Even in amicable separations, it is often seen that pet custody causes a lot of emotions to fly. So, adding a pet clause can help keep the break smooth.

Someone won’t sign the prenup – What now?

If one party refuses to sign a prenup, then your first step is accruing proof of premarital property. It’s always a solid idea to keep records of your assets before marriage to provide a layer of protection in case of separation. This includes inheritance. Experts also advise that you keep your own copies in a safe and secure location as many financial institutions only keep records for a certain number of years, therefore, making it difficult to collect them after so long.

We hope this guide to prenups was helpful! If you are interested in more advice revolving around prenups or postnups, let us know. We can post the pros and cons of prenups and advise how to ask your partner to sign a prenup.