About 1,985,000 American couples get married every year. Before saying “I do,” consider talking to a prenuptial agreement lawyer. Their experience and expertise will ensure you protect your best interests before tying the knot.
On the fence about hiring a lawyer before getting married? Here are nine reasons to talk to a prenuptial agreement attorney first.
After reading this guide, you can make a confident, informed choice. Read on to learn more.
1. Different Income Levels
If you or your spouse makes significantly more than the other, the high-earner might have to pay support under alimony law. However, the circumstances of your marriage and divorce will determine if a party needs to pay alimony. These circumstances will also determine how much alimony a party will pay.
Consider drafting a prenup agreement to reduce your risk of significant alimony payments in the event of a divorce. If you’re the supporting spouse, you could have to pay alimony payments for a long time. Your prenuptial agreement lawyer will help you protect your assets.
For example, they can help you keep your finances separate. The prenuptial agreement will define whether assets (like your car and house) are separate properties or part of the marital estate.
If you’re the supporting spouse, a prenup can ensure your partner isn’t marrying you solely for your money. If you earn more, a prenup will also limit the amount per alimony payment.
In the event of a divorce, your spouse can claim a portion of your business’ increase in value/income over time. If you own a business, make sure to keep your business out of your marital estate to protect your best interests.
2. Children From Prior Relationships
Talk to a prenup lawyer if you or your future spouse has children from a prior relationship. Drafting a prenuptial agreement could protect your children in the event of a divorce.
For example, you can draft a prenuptial agreement to preserve property and future income for your children. Otherwise, the income or property would be included in the marital estate. Any property or income included would be subject to division in the event of a divorce.
Talk to your prenuptial agreement attorney to protect your child’s best interests. For example, you can ensure your child’s future support or inheritance isn’t involved in the divorce proceedings.
3. Planning to Have Children
Talk to an attorney if you plan on having children in the future. Let a lawyer know if you plan to pause or give up your career to raise your children, too.
Otherwise, you might struggle to rebuild your financial footing or career following a divorce.
As a stay-at-home parent, a prenuptial agreement will protect your interests.
4. Significant Assets
You or your future spouse might have substantial assets like:
- Physical assets (real estate, boats, cars, etc.)
- A 401k
- Investment accounts
Consider hiring a lawyer to ensure these assets remain separate from your marital estate.
Talk to your prenup lawyer about the state’s equitable distribution law. Determine which premarital assets are separate and which are mixed.
A judge can include mixed assets in the marital estate before dividing them.
5. Significant Stock Holdings
In the event of a divorce, a party can make a claim to all or part of their spouse’s stocks and the income they generate. Talk to a prenuptial agreement attorney if you or your spouse has significant stock holdings. The prenuptial agreement will protect your stocks, investments, and income.
Otherwise, any stock holdings will get divided during the divorce. Without a prenuptial in place, you could risk losing money and future income from your stock holdings.
6. Business Ownership
Your prenuptial agreement lawyer can also protect your best interests if you’re a business owner.
During the span of your marriage, your spouse is entitled to at least half of any appreciation in value your business generates. If your spouse contributed to the business or you started the business during your marriage, it’s considered marital property. As a result, it’s also subject to distribution.
Let your lawyer know if you contribute to a family business. Otherwise, you could risk hurting other family members financially in the event of a divorce.
7. Significant Debt
If your future spouse is in debt, talk to a prenuptial agreement attorney before getting married. Any debt that existed before you got married remains separate after marriage. However, problems can develop once resources are shifted around.
For example, perhaps you paid off your spouse’s loans using a loan from your retirement or an equity line. Debtors might expect you to pay on your spouse’s behalf after a divorce.
Clarify any debts with your lawyer to protect your best interests.
8. Your Spouse is Stubborn
Talk to an attorney before getting married if your spouse is stubborn or strong-willed. While you might admire that trait before getting married, it could become problematic during divorce proceedings.
Otherwise, you might find it more difficult to come to a fair agreement when filing for divorce. You could become a victim of your spouse’s bad side.
9. Prepare Yourself
A prenuptial agreement will enable you to prepare yourself.
For example, you could avoid extensive court proceedings if you decide to file for divorce. A prenuptial agreement will help you avoid some of the emotional and financial stress. It could make the process of finalizing a divorce smoother.
In fact, 15% of people who have been through a divorce regret not having a prenuptial agreement. About 44% of singles say having a prenup is a good idea.
A prenuptial agreement will ensure you and your partner have difficult conversations about your finances before you get married. Remaining open and honest with one another before getting married could set your marriage up for success.
Hire a Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer Today
Keep your best interests in mind. Consider these nine reasons to hire a prenuptial agreement lawyer before you get married. Talking to a lawyer will give you peace of mind before you say “I do.”
If you feel ready to draft your prenup agreement, having an experienced lawyer at your side is essential. We’re here to help.
Contact us today to get started.