marriage prenup
Child Custody, Divorce, Family Law

What is a Marriage Prenup?

What is a Marriage Prenup?

We all love being in love, and marriage is one of the best experiences a person can have in this life. But marriage isn’t without its legal complications, which is where having an attorney that specializes in family law can be so important. After all, marriage isn’t just about love and companionship, it is also a legal contract that comes with certain obligations and responsibilities. Family law refers to the legal aspects of marriage, including property division, inheritance, and other related matters. One important legal tool used in marriage is the prenuptial agreement or prenup. While prenups aren’t necessary for everyone, there are many circumstances where they’re important, and they’re not just for billionaires. Let’s take a look at what prenups actually are and if it could be a good option for you and your new family. 

What is a Prenuptial Agreement

A prenup is a legal document that outlines the financial and property rights of each spouse in the event of a divorce. It is a contract that is entered into before marriage, which specifies the rights and obligations of each party in the event of a separation or divorce. In other words, a prenup determines how the couple’s assets will be divided if they decide to divorce. The document is usually drawn up by a lawyer, and it must be signed by both parties and notarized to be legally binding.

The purpose of a prenup is to protect both parties’ interests and to provide a fair and equitable division of assets as overseen by attorneys experienced in family law. It can also address issues such as spousal support or alimony, inheritance rights, and other matters related to the couple’s finances. A prenup can be especially helpful for individuals who have substantial assets or income or who own a business. It is often used when one or both parties have significant assets or if one party has been married before and has children from a previous marriage.

Items to Included in a Marriage Prenup

A prenup typically includes provisions related to marriage property division, alimony or spousal support, and inheritance rights. Marriage property division provisions in a prenup may specify how the couple’s assets, including real estate, investments, and personal property, will be divided in the event of a divorce.

The prenup may also address issues such as debt and liabilities, including who will be responsible for any debts incurred during the marriage. Provisions related to alimony or spousal support may outline the amount and duration of support payments if any, that one spouse will pay to the other following a divorce.

Inheritance rights may also be addressed in a prenup. For example, a prenup may specify that certain assets or property will be inherited by specific individuals, such as children from a previous marriage, rather than the surviving spouse.


Why Are Prenups Important?

Prenuptial agreements are essential because they provide protection and peace of mind for both parties in a marriage. They help to ensure that each party’s assets and interests are protected in the event of a divorce. Prenups can also be beneficial in the following ways:

1. Protecting Assets

If one or both parties have substantial assets or liabilities, a prenup can help to protect those assets from being divided in a divorce. For example, if one party owns a business, a prenup can help to ensure that the business remains with that party in the event of a divorce.

2. Clarifying Financial Responsibilities

A prenup can also help to clarify financial responsibilities during the marriage. For example, it can outline who will be responsible for paying certain bills, such as mortgage payments or credit card debt.

3. Reducing Conflict

Divorces can be messy and emotional, but a prenup can help to reduce conflict by providing a clear framework for marriage property division. This can help to reduce legal fees and make the divorce process less stressful for both parties.

4. Protecting Children from a Previous Marriage

If one party has children from a previous marriage, a prenup can help to ensure that those children’s interests are protected in the event of a divorce. For example, it can outline custody arrangements or specify how much support the non-custodial parent will pay.


Enforcing a Prenup Agreement

Prenups are generally enforceable as long as they meet specific legal requirements. For example, a prenup must be entered into voluntarily, with both parties fully disclosing their assets and liabilities. If one party was coerced or pressured into signing the prenup, it may not be enforceable.

A prenup must also be fair and reasonable at the time it was entered into. A prenup that is extremely one-sided or leaves one spouse with no means of support may not be enforceable.

It’s important to note that a prenup is not a guarantee that a court will enforce it. A judge may choose to invalidate some or all of the provisions of a prenup if it is found to be unfair or unreasonable at the time of divorce.


Should You Have a Prenup?

Whether or not you need a prenup depends on your individual circumstances. If you have substantial assets or income or if you own a business, a prenup may be a good idea. A prenup can also be helpful if you have children from a previous marriage or if you anticipate receiving a large inheritance.

A prenup can provide peace of mind and protect your financial interests in the event of a divorce. However, if you don’t have substantial assets or income, a prenup may not be necessary.


Contact Phillips & Sellers to Create Your Prenuptial Agreement

Not your first rodeo? Have a complicated financial history involving business assets, kids from a previous marriage, or other challenges? Sometimes, a prenup can take away a question you don’t want to think about — what will happen if this marriage doesn’t work out for some reason? Life is a tricky thing and you don’t always know the direction that it will take.  A prenuptial agreement can protect you and your spouse in the event that the marriage is dissolved. It provides a framework for marriage property division in the event of a divorce and can help to reduce conflict and legal fees. 

If you are considering marriage and have assets or liabilities that you would like to protect, it is essential to consider a prenup. If pursuing a prenup seems like the right decision for you as you enter into your new marriage, the experienced family law attorneys at Phillips and Sellers can help you draft a legally enforceable prenup that meets your specific needs. Contact us today!

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