Weddings are still happening despite all the various restrictions on travel and businesses. I attended my first “virtual” wedding in March, and we have a few more on the schedule for this summer. Maybe as some of the social distancing rules get relaxed, we can do more in-person ceremonies, but in the meantime, couples are finding creative ways to hold their ceremonies. And so, summer wedding season is upon us. With that comes an increase in consultations for clients who are about to get married and want to know if they need a prenup. Although many of these consultations are held virtually these days, the rules regarding prenups haven’t changed.
What Does A Prenup Do?
Each state has its own rules about what happens to your assets and liabilities in case your marriage doesn’t work out. Much like creating a will that lets you choose what happens to your assets after you die, a prenup lets you choose what happens to your assets in case of a divorce. You can also use it to protect you from liabilities that your soon to be spouse has incurred before you got married. And if you have certain family heirlooms or other legacy items, you can make sure they are protected too.
What Doesn’t A Prenup Do?
You can’t use a prenup to create an illegal agreement (i.e. if you cheat on me, I get to chop off your finger). Another example of a provision that can’t be in a prenup is custody of children who haven’t been born yet. You can’t put limitations on child support or other rights for the children. Beyond that, there are plenty of other creative ideas you can include. A common provision awards alimony depending on how long you are married. (You probably have other ideas that I’ve never even thought of before).
Do I Need A Lawyer?
As with seemingly every type of agreement these days, if you search hard enough online, you can probably find a website or company that will be happy to sell you a one-size-fits-all form that you can fill in with your soon to be spouse and call it a prenup. But as with many other agreements you can find online, what you pay for may not be what you need.
That online prenup is just an algorithm merging your personal information into their pre-fabricated form. If you have a creative idea that they don’t have a check box for? You’re out of luck. It is probably a better idea to speak to an attorney to discuss whether you really do need a prenup.
Before that meeting, you will want to consider:
- Your goals for a prenup
- A list of your assets and liabilities
Most importantly, you’ll want to have a frank and open discussion with your soon to be spouse. Trying to create a prenup without a discussion is a recipe for disaster. You can end up with hurt feelings and a bit of distrust if it is not something that the two of you have discussed. You can’t “force” someone to sign a prenup – that would invalidate the agreement.
As with many other legal issues, whether you need a prenup is an important issue that should probably be discussed with a lawyer rather than blindly paying for a form from a website…
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Weddings are still happening and if yours is coming up and you want to discuss if a prenuptial agreement is right for you, give me a call and we can set up a virtual Legal Strategy Session and we can review the best options for you – (877) AMAYERS.