Contrary to a widely-held belief, prenuptial agreements (or prenups) are not just for the wealthy. Whether a client has substantial assets or they’re living from one paycheck to the next, creating a binding agreement protecting those assets is an excellent way to plan for the future. Read on to learn about these contracts and whether it’s necessary to hire a Local Family Law Firm.
Prenups: What Are They?
A prenup is a binding contract that outlines how spouses will divide assets in the event of a divorce. Other financial issues may be covered, including whether a spouse will pay spousal support and whether they’ll be liable for the other’s debts. Typically, spouses must inventory their debts and assets. If they wish to keep their property separate, they can confirm that those assets will remain in the original owner’s name. Prenups are particularly beneficial if a person has property they acquired before the marriage.
What Should an Agreement Include?
In today’s digital world, some spouses choose to include provisions that keep the other person from sharing a case’s details or derogatory remarks online. There’s no universal fit as far as these contracts are concerned, and couples should consider their social and financial situations when creating them. Other terms to consider including are:
The use of mediation and other alternative dispute resolution methods during a divorce
How business and retirement assets will be handled
Whether either spouse will remain in the marital home, and who will pay the mortgage, insurance, and taxes
Distinguishing between separate and marital assets
Whether either spouse will pay the other’s student loan debt
Is it Necessary to Have a Prenup?
Whether a couple needs a prenuptial agreement depends on their location and their goals. For instance, West Virginia is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital assets will be divided equitably, not necessarily 50/50. Furthermore, separate property like inheritances, gifts, and assets owned prior to the marriage will not be divided. Because of the state’s equitable distribution law, a prenup may help a client protect more of their assets. If a client isn’t familiar with the state’s laws, they should consult an attorney before drafting a prenuptial agreement.