With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, love is in the air… So might be your thoughts about marriage and a prenup agreement? After all, what could be more romantic than promising to share the rest of your life with the one you love?
Why A Prenup Can Spell Love
How about making sure your marriage is built to last?
A prenuptial agreement is a document that outlines how you and your spouse will distribute money and assets in the event of a divorce. It can also describe plans for how you will handle child custody issues for your children if you have any. This can also address any issues having to do with a previous marriage or children and what will happen to inheritance. Quite simply, a prenup can encompass any issues you and your future spouse want it to.
Sound romantic? Probably not based on the above description. But, in actuality, a prenup can be one of the most romantic overtures you can make to a future spouse because what it actually says to them is: “I love you so much that I really want our marriage to work.”
A prenuptial agreement can help your wish become a reality, though no document, not even a prenup, can divorce-proof your marriage. If that were the case, I would most certainly have to find a new career.
If you don’t want to take my word for how valuable a prenup can be for your marriage, check out the reasons below.
Prenups Require You To Plan For The Future
As you think about what you want your prenuptial agreement to cover, you and your spouse will have no choice but to ask broader questions about what you expect from your upcoming marriage, now, next year, and many years down the road.
What are your dreams, goals, and aspirations? What are your plans — concerning career, children, retirement, and more? How do you envision your lives, separately and as a couple?
When you begin to think about the answers to these questions, both alone and as you discuss them together, you have an opportunity to build a deeper and more real bond with each other. Nothing screams romance like planning the rest of your life with someone else. Prenups merely serve as a contingency plan should the marriage not work out, which, at that time, can save you much unnecessary emotional pain and money fighting over disputes you could have already resolved before they happened and spiraled out of control.
Here are some examples of what a prenup can cover:
- Child custody
- Division of property (separate property vs. marital property)
- Obligations to a prior spouse/children
Without an agreement in place, Alabama courts will follow the rules of equitable distribution. That means a court will distribute property based on what it considers fair, which doesn’t have to mean equal. A court will determine how to distribute property based on the following criteria:
- The length of the marriage,
- What each spouse’s monetary and non-monetary contribution was to the marriage,
- Each spouse’s ability to support themselves after divorce, and
- Whether either spouse was abusive or committed adultery during the marriage
The more inclusive a prenup is, the less you will leave up to the court and, by that, chance.
Prenups Require You To Be Open & Transparent
Talking about money and finances can be complicated and intimidating. What’s worse is keeping secrets from your spouse and having them revealed later.
By creating a prenup, you and your future spouse will have the chance to talk openly about your existing finances, which will help you know what you’re getting into by marrying them. So, in a way, the prenup kills two birds with one stone. First, you get to sort out your finances now, before the marriage, and create a solid foundation on which to build your marriage. And second, know what you can expect if the marriage doesn’t work out.
Once your issues are out in the open, your lawyer can create your prenup. For a prenup to be valid in Alabama, it must be:
- In writing
- Entered into voluntarily by both parties, and
- Fully disclose all of each spouse’s assets and liabilities
- Transparency builds trust, which is a necessary building block in any successful marriage. If you feel you can’t trust your partner, it’s probably wise to put your marriage plans on hold — temporarily or permanently.
The prenup conversation doesn’t need to be unpleasant, nor should it be.
When you imagine the conversation you have with your future spouse about a financial contract, you may imagine a formal, cold legal conversation, perhaps even imagining a court scene in a divorce movie. But the conversation doesn’t need to be like that. Consider having that conversation over a cup of coffee, lunch, even a candlelit dinner.
The point is to couch it positively. You plan to spend the rest of your life together with the person you love, and a prenup is only one part of that plan. Also, you don’t need to have the prenup conversation in one exchange. You can have the conversation in increments. When it feels like the conversation is becoming too much, take a break.
As long as you complete your prenup far enough away from the marriage date, so a court won’t construe that one party coerced the other into signing without having the chance to have their counsel review it, take as much time as you need. Like the song lyrics say, “You can’t hurry love.
Prenups Reduce Conflict
If you have a contingency plan for handling eventualities like a divorce, you safeguard yourself from the conflict that can compromise your relationship in the future. If you are divorcing someone you have children with, you may have to put up with them for the sake of your kids.
Amicable separation preserves love and respect. You don’t have to argue and hate an EX if the marriage doesn’t work. Prenups eliminate unforeseen reasons for falling out of love and respect for each other.
Contrary To Popular Belief, Prenups Can Be a Testament of True Love
Assuming you already know what you stand to gain in the event of a divorce, the focus shifts to the most important ingredient of a relationship – love.
Considering some people marry for money, prenups can make it clear that an individual won’t gain much if they are more interested in finances than love.
Considering it is difficult to know if someone really loves you because of money or related things (like the inheritance you stand to gain), having a prenup automatically sets things straight and eliminates the need to pretend you love someone when all you really wanted was money.
Many relationship professionals in the field are of the belief that if you are truly in love, the material aspects of marriage don’t matter.
What’s more, if a prenup will protect your spouse from the debt you take during a marriage, isn’t that an act of love?
Prenups Protect What We Love Most – Our Children
Relationships can end at a moment’s notice. However, parenting is a lifetime job. Assuming you have been married and have children from your previous marriage, you need to protect your interest in case something happens to you.
In most cases, couples who marry and bring up children from previous marriages alongside those they have gotten together may be biased toward their own children for obvious reasons. In case of death, a prenup can state what happens to the children of the deceased spouse, protecting them from unfair treatment such as being denied inheritance. A prenup can therefore be the greatest gift you leave those you love the most.
In a nutshell, prenups aren’t bad. However, for them to spell love, they need to be handled by professionals. Discussing the details of a prenup in-depth may damage a relationship and increase the likelihood of a divorce.
You need help from a divorce lawyer to draft a prenup that reduces the chances of a conflict. Having legal representation craft an agreement, negotiate dynamics, and present the final document agreeable to both couples can reduce the tension and mistrust that can ensue.
What’s more, besides legal representatives advising on how to present the idea, they also ensure these agreements are valid as per a state’s marriage laws. Experienced lawyers know how to craft and negotiate prenups without introducing any “bad blood” between couples. A rational view coupled with a humane approach is needed for a prenup to strengthen instead of weakening a marriage
If you are looking into getting a divorce, you want someone who is going to be on your side. Connect with us at The Law Offices of Charlotte Christian and Associates Firm by phone at (256) 769-0508, or online at charlottechristianlaw.com to find an attorney that will go to bat for you both in and out of court. We will advocate for you