Going through a divorce is already a very difficult time. No matter how good or bad you left things off with your spouse, it can be an incredibly complicated process depending on your unique circumstances — and the last thing you want to have to deal with is regret that you didn’t sign a prenuptial agreement.
People are often turned off by the thought of signing a prenuptial agreement at the beginning of a marriage due to the fact that it specified the terms of what happens in the event of a divorce. While many associate the paperwork with the thought of getting a divorce in the future, it simply serves to protect both parties as they enter into one of the most important contracts they will ever sign.
Save Yourself (or Your Partner) From Debt
Say, for example, that you have several thousand dollars in student loan debt (or your spouse does). While neither of you plan to get a divorce as you are getting married, in the event that it does occur, a prenuptial agreement can specify that student loans borrowed for you or your spouse will remain their separate debt. This can help to provide both you and your spouse peace of mind knowing that you will not need to take on that burden in the case of a divorce.
Protect What Is Yours
With a prenuptial agreement in place, you are simply allowed to name what is yours up-front. And this goes for more than just finances — if you have items such as precious jewelry that your grandmother left for you or a cabin in the mountains that was passed down by a relative, you likely want to ensure that it remains yours in the case of a divorce. If a divorce were to occur after being married for a long time, you are much more likely to fight over which precious mementos or valuables are yours and your partners.
Take Out the Guesswork
Having a prenuptial agreement in place also helps to take out a lot of the guesswork when it comes to determining what will happen financially during a divorce. Some laws regarding rights to marital property, for example, are dependent on many factors. Let’s say you owned a home prior to and during your marriage — you may want to claim it as yours, but where the mortgage is paid down during the marriage, there is a complex formula (called Moore-Marsden) that determines how much must be reimbursed according to the value of the house.
This formula requires at least three different real estate appraisals and the work of a forensic accountant to determine the value, including the time and money to do so, which, in turn, will take up your time and money which could have simply been saved with a prenuptial agreement.
Assign Alimony Terms
When you have a prenuptial agreement in place, you can assign alimony terms in order to restrict or get your spouse to waive spousal support. This is typically dependent on many factors, including the income from each spouse as well as the costs of the “marital lifestyle” the parties once enjoyed.
In general, alimony is paid out for half of the marriage term (potentially longer if the marriage lasted for over ten years). If the marriage was longer than ten years, the alimony award could be indefinite, which means that until the death of the payor, payee, or the remarriage of the payee, alimony will continue to be paid out indefinitely.
Reduce Potential Future Conflict
While no one likes to think about getting a divorce when getting married, it is important to consider a prenuptial agreement in order to protect yourself in case the unexpected occurs. Not only will a prenuptial agreement reduce the possibility of future conflicts of the aforementioned items (among others), but it can also help to reduce the amount of time that it takes to settle the divorce and move on from it (which can be healthy for both you, your partner, and your children if you have them). Prenuptial agreements can also help avoid extended court proceedings, shortening the amount of time and money you spend on a divorce attorney/family lawyer since the expectations of both partners are clear.
If you have further questions about prenuptial agreements or would like to speak with a professional family lawyer about whether or not signing a prenup would be in your best interest, give our family lawyers in New York City a call today at the Law Office of Diron Rutty. We are located in the Bronx and would be more than happy to chat with you, get to know your unique situation and formulate a plan that will protect your best interests in the case that divorce ever were to occur.