Marriage is one of the biggest commitments that anyone can make during their lifetime, but too many couples rush into this legally binding contract without thorough preparation. With over half of marriages ending in divorce, it's always a great idea to talk to a marriage and family lawyer before taking the plunge. One of the easiest ways that you can protect your assets and interests in an upcoming marriage is through a document called a "prenuptial agreement." However, these contracts, known as "prenups," have an unnecessarily negative reputation, which keeps many couples from drafting them.
Here are seven of the biggest misconceptions about prenuptial agreements:
1. They're only for wealthy individuals
It's not just the upper crust that should be interested in protecting their assets. Even couples of modest means can outline safeguards for their property, debts, and investments.
2. They lead to more divorces
Actually, the divorce rate of couples with and without prenups is the same. It is the interpersonal dynamic that determines the success of a marriage, not the paperwork behind it.
3. They show mistrust
A prenuptial agreement can show exactly the opposite! Each party can write in protections for their own assets, to shield their spouse from bad credit, and to ensure a fair and equitable payout in a divorce.
4. They can't be modified
One the prenup is in place, that doesn't mean it stands forever. If you experience a major change in your marriage regarding assets, income, or debt, you may alter your agreement to outline new rules and protections.
5. They don't require an attorney
Unfortunately, despite the rise in online DIY legal services, a prenuptial agreement should always be handled by a qualified family attorney in Santa Monica, or city near you. Don't leave this important document to a website!
6. They only concern money
While material assets are a common thing to protect in a prenup, you can also include provisions for childcare, credit card debt, and the care of aging parents into this document. Both past investments and possible future circumstances can be planned for.
7. They're only useful in a divorce
These handy legal agreements actually become part of an individual's estate plan, and can be called forth in the case of serious illness, incapacitation, or death. A divorce is not the only circumstance that makes a prenup useful.
Are you ready to talk with an experienced attorney about your upcoming marriage? Reach out to our office today and learn more about how a prenup may benefit you!