Behind the Surge in Prenuptial Agreements
In recent years, the number of divorces and separations has been on the rise. As a result, the number of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements has gone up as well. People want to protect their assets. There are several factors that you should consider before you sign a prenup.
In recent years, you may have heard a family or friend interested in signing a prenuptial agreement. The number of people seeking such an arrangement is on the rise more than ever before. A prenuptial agreement, or a prenup, is a contract that you sign before getting married. The agreement states out how you will share your assets in the event of a divorce.
The American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) surveyed divorce attorneys. 62% of them reported an increase in clients seeking prenuptial agreements. 51% of the attorneys who reported a rise stated that most clients signing prenups are millennials. This is a category of people that were born between 1980 and 2000.
Whether you belong to that group or not, you may be interested in understanding the concept behind the prenuptial agreements.
The Prenuptial Agreements Long History
As you prepare for your marriage, you may be thinking about a prenuptial agreement. On the other hand, you may dislike the idea because you view prenups as an unromantic contract. To you, those signing the agreements are anticipating a divorce, which is not the ultimate goal of entering into a marriage arrangement.
Kindly note that these marital contracts have been in existence for years; however, the current concept behind the prenuptial agreements is very new. There were prenups in ancient Egypt more than 2000 years ago. Hebrews had their marriage contract known as Keturah, a legal document that gave women rights to finances.
Lawyers did not draft these agreements; instead, they were either verbal or written. Further, they indicated the property that each partner will bring to the marriage. Finally, the contracts spelled out the bride dowry that the groom’s family would pay in exchange for his bride.
Unlike the present-day prenups made between marrying parties, the ancient agreements were made by parents from both sides. Before the 20th century, women could not own properties nor choose their future marriage partners. Therefore, they could not sign any prenuptial agreements before their marriage.
As time went on, women began signing prenups to help them access their husband’s property when they died. In 1848, the Married Women’s Property Act was endorsed in New York. The law allowed married women to inherit their husband’s assets upon death.
You may have noted that modern-day prenups are different because they are notarized. The contract specifies how you will share your property in the event of a divorce. In essence, you should have one to protect the best interests of both parties. The law perceives prenups as essential documents that ensure a fair division of the property.
Should You Have a Prenup?
You may approach a marriage expert that recommends a prenuptial agreement to you. The expert may want you to think about your current and future assets in the marriage. They may name several billionaires that have benefited from their prenuptial agreements as compared to those without them. More so, they may go a notch higher and recommended postnuptial agreements or contracts signed after you enter into a marriage.
Michael Stutman of Stutman & Lichtenstein, based in New York, states that these legal contracts are crucial. Their absence invites the state laws into play to govern how you will divide your assets with your spouse. Stutman encourages you to have a prenup because several people want to dictate how you will share your property.
All properties acquired while married are communal. For instance, Jeff Bezos, the billionaire CEO of Amazon, established it after marrying MacKenzie. However, due to divorce, that wealth that he acquired during his marriage will be split. Further, the billionaire did not prepare a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
On the other hand, if you have a prenup, your assets before marriage are separate from your future assets and earnings. If you have been managing a family business, then the contract secures the interest of the family. It also separates them from your future wealth with your spouse. If this is your second marriage, then the prenup will preserve your previous marriage’s assets, which serve as an inheritance to your children from the first marriage.
Other reasons that can motivate you to sign a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. You or your spouse may give up your career to take care of the children. Thus, the contract will outline the support you deserve as a result of your sacrifice.
Key Points to Note in a Prenuptial Agreement
If you decide to sign a prenup, please note that your prenuptial agreement should reflect any variance in the laws if you and your fiance live in different countries or states. It should also have a provision on which legislation will prevail.
Further, when the prenuptial agreement gives you or your partner nothing, each of you has a right to challenge it in court to have it set aside. You can provide adequate support or give a fair split as an incentive to your spouse and discourage him or her from litigating.
Ensure that you and your spouse have independent counsel, as well as a total and fair assets disclosure. You can choose to have a waiver of the right to disclosure. Failure to follow the rules can give room to a lawsuit that challenges the agreement. More so, ensure that the prenuptial agreement includes how you will treat and develop your non-marital assets. For example, how will you share the appreciated value or interests of your non-marital assets?
Additionally, you can use the agreements to stipulate the kind of lifestyle you and your marriage mate will have. For example, you can have clauses that spell out who will be working, cooking, driving, cleaning, or whether the family will have a pet. Besides, you can indicate how much your partner will weigh, whether you will have kids or not, and who will be walking the dog. Therefore, the prenup can define what you and your spouse expect in your marriage.
The Surge in Prenuptial Agreements, Conclusion
People are increasingly seeking prenuptial agreements, and the courts are recognizing these contracts. You may opt to have a prenup before getting married. It will help you protect your interests in case of a divorce.
The agreement should spell out how you will share your assets when your marriage breaks up. It should indicate how you will develop and protect the assets you have acquired before meeting your fiance. You should have clauses that state the lifestyle and investments that you and your spouse will pursue.
Remember that your future marriage partner can challenge the prenuptial agreement in court. To avoid this outcome, ensure that you have given him or her some incentives to discourage them from taking such a step.
If you would like more information regarding prenuptial agreements and or divorce, the attorneys at Dalena & Bosh are here to help you. We are a family law firm dedicated and passionate about helping our clients. Our office is located in Madison, New Jersey, in Morris County. Give us a call or fill out our secure online form to leave a message. We will be happy to get back to you quickly.
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