Should I get a prenup?

You know, I’ve never heard any party going through a divorce complain that they had a prenup, or wish that they had never entered into the prenup.  In fact, it’s the opposite.  The majority of clients who had properties or businesses before marriage often want to kick themselves for not getting a prenup before they tied the knot.

Those who don’t get a prenup often complain that it’s an awkward thing to bring up and have a conversation about.  Another common complaint is that prenups are done with the assumption that the marriage won’t make the long haul and who wants to start a marriage with that mentality?

The reality is that no one enters a marriage thinking that they’ll do the marriage thing for awhile and then get a divorce (or maybe some people think this, but the sane majority of people do not).  The hard facts are that a lot of marriages, some estimates say that 50% of marriages, will end in divorce.  There is a strong likelihood that several of your relatives and friends have already expierenced a divorce.  If any of them had assets before marriage or a business before marriage, ask them if they think a prenup would have made their divorce easier.  I bet they would all say, “yes.”

A prenuptial agreement can be used to shape the financial consequences of marriage in a number of different ways.  To name a few:

  1. If you have a business, California community property laws say that your spouse may develop an ownership interest in your business if your business grows. If no prenup is in place before marriage, your spouse could acquire some of your business in the divorce.
  2. Prenups can be used to limit the amount of spousal support that is payable when parties are divorced.
  3. Prenups can ensure that when you die, your assets are distributed according to your wishes. For example, assets can go to directly to your children instead of your spouse.  This is very helpful if you have children from a previous marriage that you want to make sure to provide for in the event of your death.
  4. Prenups can even be used to ensure that the spouse who is the financially weaker spouse is protected by offering a minimum amount of spousal support or assets should a divorce take place.
  5. While basically anything relating to finances can be addressed in a prenup, it does have its limitations. Anything relating to child custody and visitation or child support cannot be placed in a prenuptial agreement.

A prenup is a great way to prevent arguments during the divorce.  If parties discuss what the assets are and how they are going to be divided before marriage, there will be little surprise or hurt feelings once the parties want the assets divided according to the prenup.

A prenup is a great investment.  For a one time fee, you can have the assurance that your assets are protected.  You will have the added assurance that you will spend a great deal less on attorney’s fees in the event of a divorce.  The peace of mind knowing your property before marriage will remain your separate property, or the business you had prior to marriage will not be awarded in part to your spouse in a divorce is priceless.

If you would like to discuss prenups in more detail, call Lovette T. Mioni at Mioni Family Law at (424) 259-1770 to set up a consultation.