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We know about buyer’s remorse. You know, the sick feeling in the stomach that screams we made a poor buying decision.
Buyer’s remorse has now become a common theme of marriages. No, we’re not referring to divorce, we’re talking about prenuptial agreements.
Family law attorney Joseph Bante cut his legal teeth early on as a highly skilled divorce and child custody attorney. He never saw the day coming when couples created legal arrangements that prevent buyer’s remorse. “Prenuptial agreements have taken much of the sting out of divorce cases,” Bante remarked. “In divorce fault states, signing a prenup is almost a no brainer.”
A prenuptial agreement represents a legal agreement between two marriage partners that defines the terms of property ownership for both marriage and divorce.
Overview of Prenups
Although prenups protect assets, the legal arrangement also offers other features for married couples.
- Prevents one partner from having to assume the debts of the other partner
- Defines how the property divides upon the death of one partner
- Clarifies the financial obligations of both partners during marriage
- Makes divorce cases less bitter
What Happens When You Do Not Get a Prenup?
Without a prenuptial agreement, two partners in a marriage have to rely on state law that mandates how property distributes upon the death of one partner of in the case of divorce. Although each state has unique provisions written into marriage statutes, most state share several common marriage law features that defines what each spouse receives in assets..
Your spouse has these legal rights in most states:
- To share and enjoy ownership of the assets acquired during marriage.
- To receive a defined percentage of your property upon death
- Share a percentage of debts during marriage
- Assume some responsibility for property maintenance and management during marriage
States create general statutes that cover marriage law. You should enhance your legal standing as a marriage partner by creating a prenup, especially if you have children from another marriage living under your roof. Some parents want their children to receive at least some of the assets and property upon death, instead of passing the property to the surviving spouse. Prenuptial agreements represent legally binding agreements that specify who gets what.
The Evolution of the Prenuptial Agreement
When prenuptial agreements first entered the mainstream, judges closely examined prenup requests to prevent wealthy spouses from hiding assets from a partner who had much less in personal assets and property. Conversely, many judges scrutinized prenuptial agreements to protect wealthier partners from having personal property taken away because of loss of mental capacity at the time of the document signing. Prenups today are widely accepted not only as a document that prevents messy divorces, but also as a document that ensures a smoother marriage,
Role of Courts
Courts still analyze prenups to prevent one partner from taking advantage of another partner. If you want a prenuptial agreement, make sure to create a document that clearly defines asset and property allocation. I f a judge that rules your prenup does not meet the requirements set forth by the state, he or she will nullify the marriage agreement. Judges are much more flexible in approving prenups today than they were 10 years ago.
Although you can work on a prenup with your partner, you should include a licensed attorney who has experience with writing and reviewing the marriage document. The attorney is not there to settle disputes, but to guide both partners into making sound decisions when it comes to dividing up assets and property. Both partners should share the costs of hiring an attorney to make the prenup process a shred journey.