Prenuptial agreements have benefits, limits
When couples who are engaged talk about marriage, they usually don’t discuss the possibility of divorce. In Orange County, California, many marriages, unfortunately, do end in divorce and many of these spouses fail to realize that ending a marriage can also have significant emotional and financial implications.
One way to protect personal property and help ensure a stable financial outcome after divorce is by drafting a prenuptial agreement. It may seem unromantic to talk about drafting a prenuptial contract, but it is important that the couple understand that the agreement can play a vital role in avoiding heated disputes and long-running legal challenges in the event of a divorce.
Although many people assume that a prenuptial agreement is all about property division, it can also prevent one spouse from ending up on the hook for the other’s debt, for example. It can be a way for a spouse with children from a previous marriage to designate those children as heirs. And since it’s possible that one of the spouses may bring in more assets into the marriage than the other, a prenuptial agreement may be a practical way to protect business shares and any assets that have sentimental value.
However, couples should also realize that certain matters cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement. Child support and child custody, for example, are issues upon which a court will make a final ruling. Courts also frequently throw out provisions in prenuptial agreements in which a spouse relinquishes the right to seek alimony. Perhaps obviously, a prenuptial agreement cannot stipulate anything illegal.
Entering a marriage is just like setting up a business — there are always risks involved. The best way to handle uncertainties is to be prepared. And because a prenuptial agreement is a contract that binds the spouses, it can be beneficial to seek legal advice regarding this document.
Source: Cosmopolitan, “How to Ask for a Prenup,” Frank Kobola, Jan. 10, 2014