A prenuptial agreement is a critical component of modern marriage. Although some people worry, if they get a prenup, they are setting their marriage up to fail right from the start. Our experience shows this is not the case.
For many people, just the act of discussing what is necessary for a prenup makes their relationship stronger. This is because it forces you to have a serious conversation about your finances and other aspects of your lives together. This makes sure you are both on the same page regarding your wishes.
We know you hope your marriage will have the staying power to last a lifetime. The truth is, some will end in divorce. If you do get a prenup, the divorce process will be much smoother on you and your children. Not only that, but you’ll also have confidence you will protect your financial assets.
How to Get a Prenup
Learn how to get a prenup by following the steps below.
1. Decide if you need a prenup
Anyone can benefit from having a prenuptial agreement, not just those who are wealthy. Dividing assets even occurs in middle-class families at the end of a marriage. Going through a divorce is hard enough. Having a prenup in place can help to smooth the process. This reduces stress for everyone involved.
2. Hire an Attorney to Draft The Agreement
You and your spouse should each hire attorneys. One attorney cannot represent both parties. To find a prenuptial agreement lawyer look at your state bar’s website or ask family and friends for recommendations.
3. Talk to Your Spouse About Finances
Be sure to talk to your spouse about current assets and debts, shared expenses, credit rating, whether each party will maintain separate bank accounts, whether both of you will work or one of you will stay home with the children, etc.
4. Make a List of Each Spouse’s Assets, Debts, and more
Be sure each party fully disclosed relevant financial information. Failing to be honest could render the prenup invalid if it gets challenged in court.
5. Draft the Prenuptial Agreement
Be sure to research state laws concerning prenuptial agreements so you know the types of things that can be included and what cannot. Put together a thorough list of assets so they can be identified in the event of a divorce. Debts should also be entered into the agreement.
6. Define Separate Property
Define property that will remain separate property in the event of a divorce. Separate property should be kept in the original owner’s name.
7. Define Shared Property
Define property that will be shared between both parties, also known as marital property. Also, be sure to define how shared property will be divided in the event of a divorce.
8. Decide How to Pay Existing Debts
The prenup can provide that certain debts should be paid for with marital property or it can provide that one spouse is responsible for debts they bring into the marriage.
9. Define Financial Support
Outline any financial support, also known as spousal support, that will be paid by either party in the event of the marriage ending.
10. Decide What Happens to the Marital Home
Will the marital home be sold in the event of a divorce? How will you divide the proceeds from the home sale?
11. Decide How to Handle Finances
Decide who is responsible for paying bills, who handles shared finances, whether you will have joint or separate bank accounts, how large purchases will be made, and more.
12. Decide How Taxes Will Be Paid
Will you be filing separately or jointly. Outline how you and your spouse will pay taxes if either of you owe.
13. Decide How Long the Agreement Lasts
You can add what is called a sunset clause in your prenuptial agreement to specify an end date to your agreement. This is a provision in the agreement that stipulates a preset termination of the prenup after a fixed period. If there is no sunset clause or specific stipulation regarding how long a prenup should last, its lifespan is indefinite.
14. Make Sure it’s a Fair Agreement
According to WikiHow, “While courts presume prenuptial agreements to be legal, they can be challenged and thrown out if they do not protect both people adequately.”
15. Make It Official
There are certain conditions that must be met for your prenuptial agreement to be legally valid:
- A prenup must be it writing
- The prenup should be signed and dated by both parties
- Depending on your state you will need one or two others to witness the signing of the agreement
- You must get the document notarized
- Make three copies
Where to Get a Prenup
You can get a prenup by making one yourself online or you can have a lawyer create one for you. However, if you do decide to create your own prenuptial agreement make sure you get it reviewed by a prenuptial agreement lawyer. According to RocketLawyer, “Once the agreement is composed, you may also want to have it reviewed by a lawyer.”
Nolo says, “because courts still look carefully at prenups, it is important that you negotiate and write up your agreement in a way that is clear, understandable, and legally sound. If you draft your own agreement, which we recommend, you’ll want to have separate lawyers review it and at least briefly advise you about it.”
The best way to get a prenup is to work with an experienced law firm, like Ogborne Law. We will guide the discussion about how to divide up your assets in the event of a divorce. We recognize that this is not an easy conversation to have. Therefore we will do everything we can to ensure that the process is as painless as possible. We’ll ask pointed questions to get you and your partner thinking about what your future would look like if the two of you no longer wish to stay together.
Your finances will be the main topic of discussion when you want to get a prenup. And this will form the basis for the rest of the agreement. In many cases, each spouse may wish to keep the financial assets that they brought into the marriage. When you put protections like that into your prenup, you’ll ensure you’ll be able to maintain your previous lifestyle and level of security.
Your prenup can also include provisions for how to divide up money obtained during the marriage. And if one partner earns significantly more than the other, he or she may wish to protect more of those earnings. Many state’s laws require you to divide everything evenly if a prenup does not exist.
If you and your partner plan to have children in the future, you’ll also want to include provisions in your prenup for how to care for the children. This could include things like who the kids will live with, how you will share custody, who is expected to pay their expenses, and more. Children are often the most affected by a divorce, so if you get a prenup, you’ll make the process much easier on them.
Your home is another major consideration you’ll have to evaluate to get a prenup. Will one spouse keep the house while the other keeps more of the money? Will you sell the house and split the proceeds? Outlining what will happen to the house in advance will remove a common point of disagreement. You’ll also want to consider other major physical assets, like your cars and other expensive belongings.
- What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
- Pros and Cons of a Prenup
- How Much Does a Prenuptial Agreement Cost?
- What Makes for the Best Prenuptial Agreement?
- How You Can Get an Ironclad Prenup
- Prenuptial Agreement Checklist
Trust Ogborne Law for Your Prenuptial Agreement
Here at Ogborne Law, we work closely with both parties in developing prenups to ensure that both are happy with the end result. We recognize that the process can be a bit stressful, so we aim to make it as easy as possible for you.
When you are ready for a prenup, contact us at Ogborne Law. We will help you evaluate your current situation and your projections for the future to develop an agreement suitable for both of you.
Our service area for prenuptial agreements in Phoenix, Arizona including Paradise Valley, Fountain Hills, Cave Creek, Carefree, and more. We also service many popular Phoenix neighborhoods such as Paradise Valley Village, Desert Ridge, Desert View Village, Norterra, Deer Valley, North Mountain Village, Arrowhead Ranch, Camelback East Village, Arcadia, Kierland, and more.
Engaging with an attorney to protect your family is never an easy step. Whether you need to protect your family from the unthinkable or restructure your family through collaborative divorce, we’re here to help. When you’re ready to schedule a consultation with Michelle Ogborne, please visit the scheduling page to get started.