Divorce court is a messy legal battleground, with couples standing on the opposite sides of a war. Such cases tend to leave lasting emotional damage on everyone involved—from the couple, the children to their extended family and friends. It is mutually assured destruction; regardless of whether you got your child’s custody or the house, you won’t leave unscathed.
It’s why prenuptial agreements make divorce proceedings a lot easier for couples. With a solid, bulletproof premarital contract, you can protect your assets and your kids from the scorched earth that is divorce. Here’s a primer on what to expect with prenuptial agreements.
Marital property and prenuptial agreements
To put it simply, prenups legally let you call dibs on your own property. For example, you own a home prior to marriage, with the deed under your name. Some individual properties that you’d want to keep on your own include real estate, personal banking accounts, and inheritance.
On the other hand, what counts as marital property? Technically speaking, marital property are those you as a couple acquired during your marriage. Common law, however, states that it is marital property if the title carries the couple’s names. Joint bank accounts, investment properties, pensions, securities, cars, and boats can all fall under marital properties.
When your marriage ends up in a not-so-happily-ever-after scenario, you’re likely to want to keep the house you’ve put your savings into. Prenuptial agreements let you keep what’s yours and let your spouse keep what’s theirs. Otherwise, such property will be considered marital property. Especially for an inheritance, prenups can uphold and affirm the ownership of assets like yours. Such things, when under your name, are treated as your property.
Prenups can also be a predetermined way of splitting marital property if you decide to pursue legal separation or divorce as long as it’s valid and airtight.
Setting boundaries with prenups
Prenuptial agreements can also be seen as setting defined boundaries not just on your property but for your family as well. If you’re coming into the marriage with a kid, drafting a prenup with an expert divorce lawyer lets you ensure the financial safety and inheritance of the child. Marriage comes with sacrifices; if you’re going to be a full-time stay-at-home parent once you get married, such contracts let you be compensated for the sacrifice you’ve done instead remaining at your work. What makes prenups even better, is that you can tweak the agreement to protect yourself from your spouse’s debts. This makes you not obligated to help out or assume paying for the debt you didn’t even owe.
However, some people see prenups as a seed of bad faith. Despite all its legal benefits to all spouses, some consider prenuptial agreements as having a lack of trust in your partner. Also, those with the lack of legal knowledge are fully ignorant of the power of a prenup; you might agree to the terms stated in the contract, but those provisions in the contract that you signed on that aren’t in your best interests might bite you back once divorce proceedings begin.
Divorce may be a war zone but prenups are the peace treaties. This helps everyone predetermine what’s they can keep and what they can provide. It’s not about distrusting your spouse; it’s just about protecting yourself should ever after doesn’t end up happily.