GUEST POST: Is a Prenuptial Agreement Right For You?

The Prenup is one of the most controversial, heavily litigated, and publicized types of agreement that lawyers draft.

Thanks to Hollywood movies, with big-name actors, pretty much everyone in the world knows about Prenuptial agreements. Two films that come to mind are “Liar, Liar” with Jim Carey, and “Intolerable Cruelty” with George Clooney and Catherine Zeta Jones.

But the star of these movies is not who you might think… It’s the Prenup! In Intolerable Cruelty, the movie centers around a famous, patented Prenup, legendary because no lawyer has ever defeated it. Thanks to pop culture, real-life cases, and water cooler gossip, Prenups have reached mythical proportions.

THINGS TO CONSIDER

Whether you feel a Prenup is right for you will depend on your personal, financial, and legal considerations. The most compelling issue to consider is whether a Prenup will create bad will with your soon-to-be significant other. Many people believe that a Prenup is a bad sign, a predictor of future problems that may doom your mutual confidence in a successful marriage.

This is true, particularly if you have limited assets and you want a Prenup to protect future earnings. A bona fide financial reason for a Prenup is the existence of extensive personal or family assets. Many “moneyed” families are especially concerned about keeping wealth within the family. Immediate family may exert pressure on son or daughter to have a Prenup – to avoid the worry of depleting family wealth through successive marriages that result in divorce.

Other people who have been “burned” in a previous marriage may vow never to marry again without one. Most who are curious about a Prenup come with a mix of reasons, and ultimately only a small percentage of those people feel compelled to follow through with an agreement: signed, sealed and delivered!

THE DETAILS

Prenups are expensive and cumbersome to put together and that is the biggest hurdle for many people. We are not talking about a $100.00 office supply form. A proper Prenup that can later stand up to a divorce attorney determined to tear it asunder, could consume several thousand dollars and dozens of hours. For legal agreements that will govern a future divorce, a “good job” is based more on “process” than content.

In other words, it is not all about the agreement you end up with, it is more about the way you came to that agreement. For example, an agreement signed two days before you start the wedding ceremony is most likely not worth the paper it is written on.

And if the person with no money has no idea of the extent of the other person’s assets, that creates some serious enforceability issues. A good Prenup is an enforceable Prenup – and that involves tedious, detailed work ensuring proper disclosure, opportunity to consult with attorneys, and adequate time to “reflect” on the pros and cons. Many people bow out of the process when faced with the rigorous requirements and the cost.

A ‘GOOD’ PRENUP
The best argument for a Prenup is when both sides have something they want to protect, and both people have equal bargaining power. Those agreements tend to cause the least hurt feelings and do not tend to have enforceability problems.

For example, when both future spouses have wealth, are well-educated, have a good future on their own, and each spouse wants to protect themselves in the case of an unexpected divorce.

A ‘BAD’ PRENUP
The worst reason for a Prenup is when both spouses have insignificant assets and one spouse-to-be wants to keep their potential financial success to themselves. This scenario is guaranteed to bring bad feelings, problems with enforceability, and cause problems within the marriage.

No matter what your reasons, a Prenup is a highly personal decision. There are many benefits and pitfalls. The mere mention of an agreement can doom your marriage before it even begins. For many people, the cost of a proper Prenup diverts valuable resources away from your new beginning, at a time when resources may be low.

But if your reasoning and thinking are sound, a Prenup can be one of the most productive agreements you have ever used.

GUEST BLOGGER HOWARD IKEN – https://plus.google.com/107527542855253757745?rel=author is the Managing Attorney at AYO AND IKEN PLC and an experienced divorce attorney. Ayo and Iken PLC serve those in need of Orlando divorce attorneys – http://www.myfloridalaw.com/orlando-divorce-attorney/

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