Do you know that most couples enter into a marriage with the sincere hope that they will last forever? However, the fact remains that over a third of marriages eventually end in divorce or separation. And it happens for all sorts of reasons, such as lack of compatibility and infidelity. Dividing assets after a divorce can lead to a protracted legal battle, which is why many couples get a prenuptial agreement to save them from possible emotional and financial heartaches down the line.
While you can hire divorce lawyers to draft a prenuptial agreement, getting one doesn’t mean you’re preparing for divorce. A proper prenup can address essential concerns such as the ownership of assets acquired before the marriage. It also helps to keep the peace, particularly in large families with sizable assets.
1. Hire a good lawyer
A prenuptial agreement will be scrutinized thoroughly and methodically in the event of a divorce, so you want to ensure that the document is practically bulletproof. Make sure you hire competent divorce lawyers who are experienced in drafting prenups
If the circumstances and provisions of the prenuptial agreement are put into question, it could result in a lengthy legal battle or even in the nullification of the document. You want your protect your rights, and a well-drafted prenup can do that.
2. Be honest
You need to properly disclose all your assets when drafting a prenuptial agreement. It can include your pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, financial records, as well as updated appraisals for any real property you might have. You also have to take stock of your liabilities, such as student loans, auto loans, mortgage, and credit card debt.
The asset and liability schedule will form the basis of the prenuptial agreement. If your marriage were to dissolve, only assets listed in the schedule would be considered during the negotiations. Also, the prenuptial agreement can be questioned if either of the parties leaves out significant assets on the schedule.
3. Make copies
Make multiple copies of the prenuptial agreement as well as any supporting documents, such as the asset schedule. At the bare minimum, there should be at least four printed copies of the papers: two for you and your attorney, and two for your spouse and their attorney. It’s also a good idea to store an electronic copy somewhere safe.
4. Know your options
Most prenuptial agreements tackle asset separation, support, and inheritance. The crux of a prenup is determining which assets acquired before the marriage will remain separate property and which ones will become part of the marital estate. For instance, you can declare that all income earned before the marriage is separate property, but the house you live in with your spouse becomes marital property.
In the end, remember that a prenuptial agreement can speed up the divorce process and make it less painful. These things will help you craft a prenuptial agreement that will protect you and your spouse. Consider all your options when agreeing, whether it’s mediation or a conventional negotiation.