While the rumor that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce has never really been accurate, the divorce rate is still incredibly high – especially among older adults. If you take a step back and take a realistic view of marriage, what you will see is both a romantic relationship based on love and attraction and a financial partnership where two individuals agree to share their lives and their finances until death. As mentioned earlier, the “until death” part is the problem. If you are over 30 when you marry for the first time, or if this is your second marriage and you have children from your first marriage (or a previous relationship) that you must provide for, a prenuptial agreement makes perfect sense.
One of the challenging aspects of even broaching the topic of a prenuptial agreement is that many people find them to be unromantic, and they have the idea that a prenup is simply planning in advance for a divorce. This isn’t true. When you consider that disagreements about money is one of the leading causes of divorce, having a conversation about a prenuptial agreement before wedding planning gets into full swing can make your marriage stronger. After all, you already got the “hard” part out of the way.
How does a prenup work?
A prenuptial agreement is customized for each couple and it clearly defines how your assets will be divided when one spouse passes away or when the marriage comes to an end through a divorce. Think of it this way: without a prenuptial agreement your assets will be divided according to the laws of your state, your spouse may be automatically entitled to half of your assets, and you could be responsible for paying off the debt your new spouse has brought into the marriage.
There are two basic guidelines when it comes to creating a prenuptial agreement with your family law attorney:
- Both parties must fully disclose all of their income, assets and liabilities to one another. Neither party may be coerced or compelled under duress to agree to the prenup.
- Each partner must be represented by their own attorney in order to ensure that the document is fair to both parties.
When these two conditions have been met, and both parties agree to everything in the document, each of you will sign the agreement and have it notarized. Now you can proceed with your lives confident in the knowledge that the financial details have been taken care of.
At the law firm of LaFevor & Slaughter, we would be glad to discuss the advantages of prenuptial and postnuptial agreement with you. Please contact us to schedule a consultation with a Knoxville family law attorney who can help you and your soon-to-be-spouse feel more at ease.