Is a Prenup the Right Thing for You?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings about prenuptial agreements. For many couples, prenups can be useful. They provide real benefits, important clarity, and help to facilitate open and healthy communication. At the same time, prenups also carry a certain stigma, which makes many people inherently resistant to signing one. However, there is strong evidence that the stigma is changing. Recently, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) reported that more couples are now requesting prenuptial agreements.
Do you want to know if a prenup is right for you and your future spouse? Here, our Albany prenuptial agreement attorneys highlight some of the key benefits of prenups. In addition, we offer some tips for discussing a prenup with your partner. If you have any questions or concerns about your particular situation, please do not hesitate to reach out to our law firm for fully confidential legal guidance.
Important Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement
If you are considering signing a prenup, it is important to understand the advantages offered by this type of legal agreement. While prenups are not right for every couple, they do offer very important advantages to many people. Specifically, the key benefits of prenuptial agreements include:
- Protection of property: Prenups can be used to delineate that certain assets and property belong to one partner individually, instead of to the marriage.
- Distribution of debts: Likewise, a prenup can be used to keep pre-marital debt from becoming the responsibility of both partners.
- Special agreements: Your prenup can also contain a specialized agreement that is specific to the unique needs of your marriage.
- Reduced conflict: In case of divorce, a prenup can be used to help ‘pre-resolve’ complex issues. While no one wants to think about divorce, a prenup provides clarity that can make any potential future separation far easier.
Three Tips for Discussing a Prenup With Your Partner
It is normal to feel anxious when considering bringing up the issue of prenuptial agreements with your partner. Not only do prenups carry some stigma, but many people simply do not understand the benefits of these agreements. Our family law attorneys have put together a list of three of our best tips to ensure that your conversation about a prenup goes as smoothly as possible:
- Don’t Wait to the Last Minute: With prenups, the best thing you can do is to act early. The sooner you bring up the idea of a prenup, the more likely it is that you will be able to reach a mutually beneficial agreement.
- Start By Talking About the General Concept: You should not present your partner with an already drafted prenup the first time you talk about the issue. Instead, it is best to bring up the general concept first. Then, you can hammer out the details with your attorney later.
- Be Willing to Listen to Your Partner’s Concerns: Your partner may be somewhat resistant to signing a prenuptial agreement. You should be ready and willing to listen to and address their concerns. In many cases, people have misconceptions about what a signing prenup actually means.
Contact Our Albany Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers Today
At The Colwell Law Group, LLC, our New York family law attorneys have extensive experience drafting, reviewing, and negotiating prenups. For a fully confidential legal consultation, please do not hesitate to contact our law firm. With offices in Albany and Saratoga, we represent clients throughout the region, including in Greene County, Columbia County, and Dutchess County.
Questions to Ask Before Getting a Prenuptial Agreement
A prenuptial agreement is an excellent way for couples to honor the love they have for one another and completely separate questions about money and finances from their love union. Considering that many marriages end in divorce, and so many divorces can become contentious, spouses may want to draft a prenuptial agreement as a way to plan for the unlikely possibility of divorce so that the divorce can happen as quickly and peacefully as possible.
That said, prenuptial agreements are not necessarily appropriate for all New York spouses. As such, spouses may want to consider the following questions before deciding to draft a prenuptial agreement that will apply to their marriages:
- Do you own real estate? If you own a valuable piece of real estate, this any value increases that apply to this property will later become a part of your marital estate and will be divisible in a divorce. A prenuptial agreement can allow you to maintain ownership of these value increases.
- Do you have over $50,000 in assets? Prenuptial agreements are not entirely useful for those who have no assets to protect. Those with over $50,000 in assets, however, may want to look into creating an agreement to protect those assets in the event of a divorce.
- Do you own or part-own a business? Business ownership can become a very complicated matter in divorce proceedings. It is, therefore, advisable for business owners to include their business in any prenuptial agreement preparations.
- Do you have substantial retirement benefits? A marriage means sharing retirement benefits, and a divorce means dividing those benefits. If you have already saved a substantial amount of retirement benefits, a prenuptial agreement could protect them from asset division proceedings.
- Does your estate plan name heirs or beneficiaries who are not your partner? It may be necessary to create provisions in your prenuptial agreement that will protect the inheritances of your heirs and beneficiaries.
Speak With an Experienced New York Family Attorney
There is much more that should be considered by any New York resident considering a prenuptial agreement. By speaking with a New York family lawyer, soon-to-be spouses can determine more accurately if a prenuptial agreement is appropriate for their situation and needs.
Source: FindLaw, “How to Determine if a Prenuptial Agreement is Right for You,” accessed Dec. 16, 2016.
Prenuptial Agremement Discussions Might Avoid Future Surprises
Could a prenuptial agreement save your marriage? Our family law and divorce attorneys believe that the benefits of this type of contract, executed before marriage, should not be underestimated.
Granted, this position may not be the traditional advice offered in couples therapy. But even a therapist might likely agreement that open and honest communication is good for a relationship. In that vein, consider what is required to execute a prenuptial agreement: identification of every contingency, analysis and negotiation.
A prenuptial agreement can be a catalyst for family planning. For example, if one individual wants to reduce his or her work schedule for raising a child, a premarital agreement can discuss alimony or spousal support as compensation for that sacrifice. That support could be vital if a relationship were to end, providing the means for a former spouse to get his or her skills current and ready to reenter the workforce.
A prenuptial agreement can also serve as a reference point. If issues arise, the contract can provide guidance on the agreement that was reached. Of course, couples may also find that changed circumstances have affected their viewpoint. In that event, an attorney can help couples modify their arrangement with a postnuptial agreement.
In addition to spousal support, a prenuptial agreement can also address matters of asset division and debt allocation. Child support is off limits, however, as that calculation is governed by state law. To the extent other laws apply, such as military retirement benefits and pensions, an attorney can help couples understand the limits of what a prenuptial agreement can address.
Source: Forbes, “5 Things To Keep In Min