Millions of people get married in the U.S. every year, and as marriage has evolved overtime, more people are considering prenups than before. Whether you first heard about a prenup in a song or in a celebrity divorce scandal, these agreements are no longer just for the super famous or uber wealthy. With half of all marriages ending in divorce and many couples choosing to have one parent stay-at-home after having children, couples are looking to prenups to protect and fairly divide their partner’s and their own financial interests.
If you’re about to tie the knot or want to know more about your options for your future with your partner, this is why you need a prenup. Here, we’ve answered the common questions that come up when discussing a prenup, so you know what to do when the time comes.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement, more often referred to as a “prenup,” is a legal agreement between two people that is written and signed before marriage. The purpose of it is to divide your assets and cover everything from property and cash accounts to various financial obligations acquired prior to and after getting married.
If you don’t sign a prenup before your wedding day, the state you live in will have its own set of laws that will determine what happens should you get divorced. Depending upon your situation and perspective, this can either help or hurt you.
What Does it Do for You Financially?
Prenups address a wide variety of financial interests, including property and assets, individual or shared debt, future inheritances, retirement funds, and even life insurance policies. These legal documents are created with the intent of protecting both partners, so they can only be enforced if they are seen as equitable, rather than one-sided or exploitative. When you and your partner agree to a prenup, it should be coming from a healthy place of compassion for both yourself and them.
Can You Write Your Own Prenup or Do You Need an Attorney’s Help?
While you can DIY a prenup like some other legal agreements, it’s not often recommended. Because of all the intricacies that make up a person’s finances, let alone the finances of two people, having an experienced law firm draft and notarize your prenup can give you the exact protection you and your partner are looking for. The cost of this often depends on how complex the division of your assets will be and the law firm you go to. Contact us for more information.
Is There Anything a Prenup Can’t Do?
Well, yes. Since a prenup is created to protect each partner’s individual financial interests, it doesn’t cover anything outside money matters. This can include anything from personal appearance and infidelity, to living conditions, location, and personal lifestyles. A prenuptial agreement also doesn’t cover anything child-related, like visitation rights or child custody in the event of a divorce. Those will be discussed only during divorce proceedings and be based upon a variety of factors outside the signed prenup.
What if I’m Already Married?
If you’ve already tied the knot, but you and your partner are regretting not signing a prenup, you can still create a postnuptial agreement. As the name suggests, this is a financial agreement that is created after you’ve obtained your marriage certificate.
While it’s less common, this is something you can sign at any point during your marriage and can be considered an amendment to a prenup if you have one. People often create postnuptial agreements in response to big life changes, such as after having children or when one spouse starts a business.
Will My Prenup Only Come into Play During Divorce?
While most people have heard of a prenup in reference to a divorce, this agreement also provides financial protections upon the death of a spouse. Most debts don’t often fall to the surviving spouse, but there are unique situations where a surprise call from a debt collector can happen.
In Community Property States, spouses assume responsibility for some debts accrued during marriage; however, a pre- or postnuptial agreement can help protect both partners from this. While Colorado does not fall under this category, it’s important to keep in mind should you move or hold residency anywhere else in the country.
Whether you’re considering a pre- or post-nuptial agreement now or want to start the conversation with your partner, the attorneys at Lewis & Matthews are here to help. Our team has decades of experience in Family Law in Colorado, so you can count on us to help you navigate the prenup process and discuss everything ahead of you as a married couple. Get in touch with us today to set up a consultation to go over your options or schedule a private consultation in one of our local offices.