Under state law, the couple would otherwise enter into certain agreements, but a prenup opts out of those agreements. Prenuptial agreements can be a trap for some people. Some cases may involve using them as a tool to control the partner who comes into the relationship with fewer assets. A prenuptial agreement cannot include child support issues. Additionally, child support or child custody cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement.
A recent release of a paper by a Harvard Law School Olin Fellow explains that about 5 percent of married people have a prenuptial agreement. However, the facts are that more than 50 percent of marriages end up in a divorce.
Prenuptial Agreement Drawbacks
Negotiating a prenuptial agreement can irreversibly damage your marriage and is likely to increase your chances of divorce – because its dynamics set up a negative pattern for your marriage. Negotiating a prenuptial agreement is not romantic and can destroy a portion of the couples’ love forever.
Prenuptial agreements aren’t always bad ideas but may not always be required. When both or either spouse has significant financial assets, a prenuptial agreement might be a good idea. Student loan debt, or debt in general, is reason enough to get a prenup.
Prenuptial Agreement Pros and Cons
Pros and Cons of a Prenuptial Agreement
- Prenuptial agreements help protect.
- A prenuptial agreement can create distrust.
- Children are protected.
- Protecting business assets is a pro.
- It is not foolproof.
According to their terms, prenuptial agreements typically last for the duration of the marriage. It is not uncommon for prenuptial agreements to contain expiration clauses. A typical agreement might be that spouses won’t receive spousal maintenance unless married for ten years.
Can a Prenuptial Agreement be Nullified?
The short answer is yes. The three most common grounds for nullifying a prenup are as follows:
- Failure to disclose
- Duress and coercion
The agreement may be unconscionable if it is patently unfair to one party. Furthermore, coercion and duress can invalidate a prenup, as well as failure to disclose several material items.
Who Benefits from a Prenuptial Agreement?
The prenup stipulates how properties and debts would be divided between a couple if they divorced. As a result, both parties benefit from avoiding lengthy and emotionally draining court battles. A prenuptial agreement can be especially valuable if you have considerable assets before marriage. However, your background may also justify the cost and effort if you have had a previous divorce or have children from a previous marriage.
How Much Does a Prenup Cost?
The provisions of prenuptial agreements vary from state to state. Each state establishes its own rules when it comes to prenuptial agreements. It depends on several factors how much a prenup will cost. For most couples, the cost will range from $1,000 to $10,000 for more complicated situations.
There are ways to protect assets without going through the process of a prenuptial agreement. Those ways include
- Post-nuptial agreement
- Keep funds in separate accounts
- Keep real estate purchases separate
- Keep retirement accounts statements issued before and at the date of marriage.
Does a Prenuptial Agreement Expire?
If there is no specific expiration date in your prenuptial agreement, it does not expire. In any amendment or revocation of your prenuptial agreement, both parties must consent.
An agreement drafted before a wedding generally remains in effect throughout the marriage. “Sunset” clauses are sometimes included in marriage contracts of couples. For example, you can set the prenuptial agreement to last for five years before it automatically expires.
A signed prenup does not mean a judge won’t throw it out. Airtight prenuptial agreements are rare, and several factors can give an angry spouse the means to get out of it.
Remember this About Prenuptial Agreements
A prenuptial agreement accounts for the changes you cannot foresee or anticipate in a marriage. It also forces important and mature discussions and ensures your finances are handled the way you intend, during and after marriage. The primary purpose of prenuptial agreements is to determine how your assets will be divided in the event of divorce, but they can be initiated for a variety of reasons. A prenup doesn’t mean you don’t trust your partner, and a prenuptial agreement means you’re invested in the long-term success of your marriage.