What is a Prenuptial Agreement
Written by Michelle N. Ogborne

What is a prenuptial agreement?

Here at Ogborne Law, we talk with some of our clients about the taboo associated with a prenuptial agreement, aka prenups or premarital agreements. We speak with clients all the time about how this is a scary topic for them to bring up.

Prenuptial agreements tend to be somewhat of a touchy topic in the marriage world. Some applaud them for giving protection in case the marriage dissolves. However, others say that it is setting the marriage up to fail from the start.

It’s our belief if you’re talking about this before you’re married you’re only setting yourself up for a great marriage. This conversation isn’t easy but you can get through it. And when you do, there are many future conversations that will be much easier to get through.

So, what is a prenuptial agreement? Here’s what you need to know:

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is a contract both parties sign before entering into a marriage. It spells out how to divide the assets and property in the event of a divorce. Anyone can benefit from this type of legal protection. It’s no longer just for the wealthy.

The agreement can cover a wide variety of topics including debt brought to the marriage, family property such as inheritance or heirlooms, your child’s inheritance, estate planning, and responsibilities during the marriage.

According to HowStuff Works, “Its purpose is to settle financial matters in advance in the event of either a divorce or death“.

Why Sign a Prenuptial Agreement?

For someone who has a lot of wealth before getting married, a prenup can protect that wealth. The spouse won’t be able to claim rights to any money the other person had before the marriage. It can even cover obtaining more wealth during the marriage. This can provide peace of mind for the breadwinner that their assets will be protected.

For the spouse who is not as wealthy, a prenup can provide some guarantee of the ongoing care they will receive after the marriage dissolves. Of course, the hope is that going into the marriage, the couple will stay together. However, the prenup is there in the case that something goes wrong between the two people.

Who Needs a Prenuptial Agreement?

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.

Even if you believe your love will last forever, there is always the chance something could go wrong. It’s in your best interest to protect yourself.

How Do Prenups Work?

Prenups work by listing all of the property and debts each spouse owns and by specifying what each spouse’s property rights are after divorce in a written contract. The purpose of a prenup is to pass separate property to your children from prior marriages, clarify financial rights, specify whether either spouse will receive alimony or not, avoid potential arguments in case of a divorce, specify how property should be divided, and get protection from debts. Nolo says, “If you don’t make a prenuptial agreement, your state’s laws determine who owns the property that you acquire during your marriage, as well as what happens to that property at divorce or death.”

How 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.”

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.

Why Is There Such a Stigma Attached to Prenuptial Agreements?

Many people are reluctant to sign a prenuptial agreement before getting married. They worry that planning for divorce makes it more likely that they will, in fact, end up getting divorced. As sad as it is to think about, the truth is that not every marriage will last. That likelihood is even higher if it is not the first marriage for one or both parties. Although you may prefer to maintain the ideal that your marriage will be forever, it still pays to be prepared.

Despite this stigma, those who sign a prenuptial agreement may actually be in a better position than those who don’t. Just the act of talking honestly about finances, children and other concerns can make your relationship even stronger. Getting both parties on the same page can reduce the risk of the irreconcilable differences that so often cause marriages to dissolve.

What Makes a Good Prenuptial Agreement?

Attorneys are in the business of protecting their clients. Because of this, many prenups are extraordinarily one-sided. They offer ample protection for one party while leaving little or no provisions for the other. This is not the way to enter into a marriage and may signify that there are deeper compatibility issues in the relationship.

A good prenuptial agreement should take into account the needs of both parties. The end result should be an agreement that is fair to both individuals. While it may take some hashing out to get to this point, it is well worth the effort to come to a compromise that both parties can be satisfied with. This way, no one will feel they are being taken advantage of.

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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.

In addition to our prenuptial agreement services, we can also evaluate business and estate planning risks. We’ll prepare documents for you that work in conjunction with your prenuptial agreement to complete your protection. We will gladly bundle these services together so that you can get everything done all at once. This way, you can have peace of mind going into your marriage so that you can relax and enjoy being newlyweds.

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.