A prenuptial agreement occurs when a couple is about to be married, but one or both of the spouses has assets that they wish to protect from a future divorce. The agreement is signed before the marriage occurs and is a basic outline that agrees to certain stipulations regarding the assets that need to be protected.
63% of divorce attorneys say that they have seen an increase in prenuptial agreements in the last three years.
Traditionally it has been men who have been requested prenuptial agreements, but that isn’t the case today. 46% of divorce attorneys noted in a recent survey that they’ve noticed a dramatic increase in the number of women who have initiated the requests for a prenup.
- 15% of people who have been through a divorce regret not having a prenuptial agreement in place.
- 44% of singles believe that having a prenup is a good idea before entering into a marriage.
- The three top reasons why a prenuptial agreement is put into place is to provide protection of separate property, alimony/spousal maintenance, and the division of property.
- A well-drafted pre-nup can ‘override’ both Community Property law and Equitable Distribution State law.
Is there a valid argument in saying that a couple who gets a prenuptial agreement is expecting a divorce to occur and so they won’t try to work through a marriage? Not really. A prenuptial agreement is more about protecting oneself against the worst case scenario. Far too many times there have been instances where the wealthier half of a married couple before a marriage occurs comes out of a divorce living below the poverty line. If there are important assets that someone has, a prenup makes sense to put into place.
Love Just Doesn’t Always Last
- Prenuptial agreements aren’t just about protecting real estate or accumulated assets. With divorce rates in double digit percentages in most countries around the world, there are also children and their assets that must be protected.
- A prenup that has been well drafted can even override states that have community property laws or equitable distribution requirements.
- Hidden assets are one of the most common reasons why a prenuptial agreement is thrown out of court.
- Agreements need to be a legal document to be considered valid in most jurisdictions. Steven Spielberg found this out the hard way and settled for $100 million after a prenup on a napkin was considered invalid.
- Prenuptial agreements cannot predetermine if a parent will be able to have custodial or visitation rights, nor can it stipulate that a child be raised within a particular religion or faith.
- Only 3% of people who have a spouse or are planning on getting married in the near future have a prenuptial agreement.
- Married couples who don’t pool all of their resources are more than twice as likely to wind up with marital problems that can include a divorce.
A prenuptial agreement doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Sometimes all you’ve got to do is throw everyone into a room, have an honest conversation about the future, and a couple will be able to come to a mutually beneficial agreement. Are there more risks in a marriage that has a prenuptial agreement? There may be as there is less of a financial risk to abandon a marriage, meaning there is less of an incentive to work on it. Does this mean every marriage that has a prenuptial agreement is bound to fail? Of course not. After all, a vast majority of people don’t enter a marriage expecting it to fail. Otherwise what would be the point?
Why Aren’t Prenups Used More Often?
- Only 5% of divorces that occur in the United States have a prenuptial agreement in place that help to dictate the proceedings.
- The average rate of married people who say that they have a chance of getting a divorce was just 11.7%.
- 62% of people in a recent survey say that the request for a prenuptial agreement sends a negative signal to the other person who hasn’t requested it.
- 63% of people believe that they would be at a higher risk of divorce if their partner asked them for a prenuptial agreement.
- Even more than 50% of law students believe that a prenup would increase their chances of experiencing a divorce later on in a marriage.
- Prenuptial agreements are often thought to be about wealth, but a prenup can also protect someone against a spouse who is entering a marriage with a lot of debt.
- Although the perspective of a prenup is that a partner doesn’t have a high level of trust, the opposite is true because all assets must be disclosed in order for an agreement to be valid.
- Prenups are seen as expensive, but ultimately they are just a fraction of the cost of the average wedding.
It’s the social stigma of a prenuptial agreement that makes it such a difficult thing to put into place. You get car insurance in case you’re in an accident and you purchase home insurance to protect your property from harm. Why wouldn’t you get marriage insurance as well? What happens to the stay at home parent who is raising a child and the other partner decides to leave when a prenup isn’t in place? Once someone steps out of the work force for any length of time, even to raise a child, it affects their future earning potential. Prenups help to equal the playing field, bring another level of partnership to the relationship, and ultimately shore it up on all fronts to protect against the “what-ifs” that can occur in life. It should be noted that if a prenuptial agreement places a spouse into a worse position after the marriage than before it, there is a good chance that the court won’t uphold the agreement.
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