Prenuptial Agreements - Answers To Your Most Frequently Asked Questions
Just saying the words "prenuptial agreement" conjures images of Brad and Angelina or Michael Jordan and his ex wife.
Most people view prenups as a document only for the rich or only used when spouses don't trust each other.
What most people don't realize is that financial disputes are the number one reason for divorce in America.
Divorces without prenuptial agreements are often messy, long and very expensive.
Instead of looking at a prenuptial agreement as a sign of distrust or a document only the elite can afford, most prenuptial agreements are designed to identify financial concerns and establish expectations. Rather than being a “plan for divorce” an effective prenuptial agreement can serve as divorce prevention.
In this article, we address the most frequently asked questions people have about prenuptial agreements.
What is a prenuptial agreement?
Prenuptial agreements are legal contracts and thus, they should not be entered into lightly.
Premarital agreements have an impact on your finances, your family, and your future.
Working with an experienced prenuptial agreement attorney ensures that you are entering a fair and realistic premarital agreement.
Prenuptial agreements are often viewed as divorce prevention tools.
Unfortunately, some prenuptial agreements are unfair, illegal, and even deemed unconscionable, and therefore, are unenforceable.
Likewise. . . some premarital agreements are simply unrealistic.
As a result, it is important to have an attorney that understands the boundaries of prenuptial agreements and can help you and your partner craft a fair and enforceable document.
I don’t have anything do I really need a
You don’t need a prenup if you are both poor and have no chance of ever having anything, ever, including a business, a pension, property, cars, a job, investments, pets or an inheritance.
While most people think prenuptial agreements are only for people who have lots of money, premarital agreements are usually for the everyday person.
Essentially, having the prenup is like buying insurance – you hope you never need it, but it is there in case you do.
Having a prenup can also be helpful to a spouse with fewer assets because individuals will often quit a job or relocate prior to a marriage. A prenup can ensure that they are made financially whole in the event of a divorce or legal separation.
Most prenups address spousal support in the event of divorce as well as how assets and debts, both prior to marriage and those acquired during the marriage will be divided.
A solid prenup can also address the rights of a spouse upon death or incapacity of their partner.
Is my spouse asking me to sign a prenup because they don’t trust me?
In our experience, absolutely not.
Usually, a spouse asks for a prenup because they are trying to protect an asset they own prior to marriage or save their spouse from substantial debt accumulated prior to marriage.
Having a prenup can be a win-win for both parties and doesn’t mean that one party is not trustworthy.
Rather, having a prenup should be considered as a way for a married couple to create their marital financial roadmap. Most sound prenups are more involved than simply saying who gets what if the parties divorce.
A good prenuptial agreement will define how property should be acquired and what happens to property if one party should pass away or become incapacitated.
drafting a prenuptial agreement can really assist an engaged couple in planning for their financial future rather than being used as a testament of distrust.
Why cant we just write down on a piece of paper who gets what? Why do we need a lawyer?
There are so many reasons that a do-it-yourself prenuptial agreement is a bad idea that we cannot state them all here.
While there are many legal documents that can be drafted on your own, a prenup is not one of them. In our experience most prenups that were drafted by divorcing spouses themselves, or even drafted by a notary, have been deemed unenforceable.
Furthermore, Nevada has an entire statute (NRS 123A),dedicated to the content and enforcement of prenups.
In the event the parties draft their own prenup and get divorced, the divorce judge will look to the statute to see if the prenup complies – in most cases, the prenup does not meet the strict standards of the statutes and will be deemed unenforceable.
Simply, having a prenup drafted by an Nevada prenup attorney ensures that the agreement is sound and complies with the law.
Can we change the terms of the prenup later
if something changes?
Of course. Prenuptial agreements can always be modified at a later date as long as both parties agree.
Usually a prenuptial agreement modification must be in writing and signed by both parties to become enforceable.
Changes to the prenuptial agreement are usually required to be in writing as well.
Can my prenuptial agreement take care of any alimony requests if we divorce?
Yes. Your prenuptial agreement can, and should, address alimony in the event of a divorce . . . but it is not required.
At a minimum, you and your soon to be spouse should discuss alimony in the event of a divorce as a provision in your prenuptial agreement.
If you decide you want to include an alimony provision in your prenuptial agreement, some of the questions you will need to answer include:
How much alimony will be paid and for how long?
If you are only married for a short period of time, will your spouse be entitled to alimony at all?
What happens if you are married for twenty, forty or fifty years and divorce? Will a spouse still be entitled to alimony or should there be no alimony?
What happens if someone becomes disabled or unemployed how will this affect alimony in your prenuptial agreement?
BONUS TIP: You should keep in mind that most states will not allow a complete waiver of alimony in a prenuptial agreement if it means one spouse would end up on State or Federal financial assistance. In other words, if you write a prenuptial agreement that says you both agree to waive alimony, and your divorce would leave one spouse on welfare, chances are a divorce judge could still order alimony even though your prenuptial agreement waives it.
How much is a prenup going to cost me?
At our firm, we do not charge by the hour for drafting the prenup. Instead, we charge a flat fee that ranges anywhere from $375 to $3,500 depending upon the complexity of the agreement being drafted and the nature of the assets and debts involved.
In considering a prenuptial agreements, our Nevada Prenup Attorneys will help you and your partner solidify your desires for the future, document your intentions and help both of you protect what you have worked so hard to earn. Call us today at (702) 433-2889 or fill out our on-line form for more information.