09 Apr Things to Know About a Prenuptial Agreement
There’s nothing more exciting than blooming romance. You get to learn all about one another and fall more in love every day. Still, you must use your head during this time, too. Getting a prenuptial agreement is smart for many reasons. Here are some things to know about a prenuptial agreement in Washington State. Getting a prenup does not mean that you are waiting for your marriage to fail. It merely prepares you for the worst-case scenario.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
Before we talk about the factors within a prenuptial agreement, we should first define it. A prenup is a contract that two people sign before they get married. The papers will determine how property is divided and what happens to assets upon separation. Many individuals refuse to sign a prenup because they fear it ruins the romance. Yet, prenups are just plain smart. There is no telling what the future will hold, so it is better to be safe than sorry.
The Basics of a Prenup
Now that we know what a prenup is, we can discuss the nitty-gritty behind it. First of all, when should you sign the prenup? Most law firms agree that the sooner, the better. Courts are more likely to be skeptical of a contract that was signed right before the big day. So, leave yourself time before the wedding so that both parties can go over things. Prenups should contain a full list of both parties’ assets. As a result, they may take time to create and review.
Can You Get It Online?
The simple answer is no. Prenuptial agreements must be certified through the court of law and signed by both parties and their attorneys. Each person may want to hire their own lawyer to represent their interests. Working with the same attorney is a possibility, but not always a good idea because one’s interests may not be expressed over the other. You will also need to take the prenuptial agreement to a Notary to sign and notarize.
Who Needs a Prenup?
So, a lot of people think they do not need a prenup. Here are some considerations to keep in mind when you get engaged:
- Is one person significantly wealthier than the other? Prenups are meant to limit the damage upon divorce. One person should not be left impoverished after the marriage ends, while the other gets rich.
- Does the couple have children prior to the marriage? Later, this article will discuss how Washington State deals with child custody cases and how alimony comes into play with prenups.
- Is one person in debt more than the other? Prenups may prevent one person from taking on the other’s debt if things end.
What Does a Prenup Cover?
Now that we know who should get a prenup, we can talk about what the agreement covers. Essentially, it manages the current and future assets of the couple. Again, the end of the marriage should not dramatically impact one’s life.
Prenuptial agreements also cover the division of property. Couples should determine the division of property before they get married so that one person is not without a place to live if things go south. Finally, insurance can also be included in prenuptial agreements so that one person is not unfairly compromised after the marriage ends. Child custody, however, is not included in these contracts.
Child Support and Alimony
Prenuptial agreements are unique because they allow people to set up their alimony agreements before they get married. Couples can decide to forego alimony altogether and agree not to pay alimony if they get divorced. Or, they can determine who will get alimony and for what term after a divorce. Still, prenups cannot determine the custody of the children, or child support. In Washington State, the courts bases custody decisions on the best interests of the child. In some cases, children may have a say in this, as well. Though, parents typically go through mediation to determine these matters.
Both parties must prove they have a sustainable environment for their child(ren). Acting amicably towards one another goes a long way in the court of law. If both people argue with each other, the judge will view this as being uncooperative, and the courtroom battle will drag on. Parents need to be mindful about what they put on their social media accounts too. Judges do not take kindly to people bad-mouthing each other over the internet, or participating in behaviors that may negatively influence their child.
Enforcing a Prenuptial Agreement
Enforcing a prenuptial agreement may be more challenging than one expects. First, the document must be signed by both parties as verbal agreements are invalid. Next, the contract must be signed by an attorney to be viewed as legitimate. If one person wants to refute the contract, they must prove that one person was not honest in displaying their full assets before the marriage, the contract was written to benefit one person significantly over the other, or if the financial situation has become extraordinarily different than beofre they were married. If one person tried to hide some financial assets before the marriage and the judge finds out, this could spell trouble.
Can It Be Modified?
Another thing to know about prenuptial agreements in Washington State is that they can be modified. However, much like in other circumstances, everything must be written down. Lawyers must sign it as if it is a new contract entirely. Also, if people want to rescind their agreement, they must create a new contract that negates their old one. Again, attorneys and notaries must be present to ensure that everything is legitimate.
Getting a prenuptial agreement is responsible, rather than a romance-killer. People who do not sign prenuptial agreements often face a courtroom battle that will last for years. If you find you are in the situation, look no further than LaCoste Family Law. We have an experienced spousal support attorney in Washington State on our team. Our attorney will advocate for you in court to ensure that your life does not change dramatically because of your separation.