Prenuptial or premarital agreements are any legal arrangements made prior to a marriage that act to separate certain assets should a divorce occur.
In the past, prenuptial agreements were usually chosen only when one or both parties possessed significant assets that needed protection. However, couples are increasingly calling for prenuptial agreements as simply a way to protect themselves in the event of a divorce, whether or not significant assets are involved. According to Forbes, prenuptial agreements are on the rise, but why?
Common reasons couples choose prenuptial agreements:
- If one or both parties owns family property or shares a stake in a family business.
- If one or both parties has children from a previous relationship and wants to ensure that their estate falls to these children.
- If older couples want to preserve their estate for their children in the event of a divorce or death.
- If couples who have been previously married want to protect their assets in the event of another divorce.
- In lieu of a will, prenuptial agreements are sometimes chosen as a way to legally divide assets as desired in the event of a death.
How does it work?
- To ensure the validity of a prenuptial agreement, both parties must fully and completely disclose all of their assets. This becomes more complicated with age and/or previous marriages. It’s important to have an attorney’s guidance through this process, as an incomplete disclosure can negate a prenuptial agreement.
- To make a prenuptial agreement legally binding, it must be determined as “fair, just, and equitable” by both parties. This is perhaps one of the most confusing and challenging parts of the process, and often a disagreement point among couples. This is another point where a competent attorney is needed to help reach a conclusion both parties are satisfied with, and then make that conclusion legally binding.
- Prenuptial agreements are only valid if entered into voluntarily by both parties with complete and full disclosure.
Should you choose a prenuptial agreement?
As the name implies, deciding if this path is best or not should ultimately be an agreement between you and your partner. Some important points to remember are:
- Without a prenuptial agreement, your assets will automatically be given to your spouse in the event of your death. If you wish for your children or other family members to receive your assets instead, you can choose a prenuptial agreement, a will, or both. If you have a will, your attorney can make sure that id doesn’t conflict with your prenuptial agreement.
- If you have both a will and a prenuptial agreement, it’s important to note that a valid prenuptial agreement will override your will, but the process will be much faster and less complicated if your will agrees with your prenuptial agreement in the first place.
- It’s essential to remember that a prenuptial agreement is as serious as a divorce or a legal will. Both parties should have adequate legal counsel to protect their rights and to help them fully understand the legal agreement they are making.
You and your partner should consider the common reasons for prenuptial agreements listed above and also seek legal counsel on whether or not it’s right for your marriage. The law around prenuptial agreements in Alabama is complicated, so we advise you to seek legal assistance before finding out too late that your agreement could be invalid. Don’t hesitate to contact the Zwiebel Law Firm today either online or at 205-623-1001 to set up a consultation.
The Zwiebel Law Firm, LLC
826 Columbiana Road
Birmingham, AL 35209
Phone: (205) 623-1001