Prenuptial agreements have grown in popularity over the past few decades. They’ve gone from rare contracts to something found in one in every 20 US marriages. Over the past two decades alone, prenups have exploded in popularity by 500%.
Still, there are some persistent myths that people believe about these important premarital contracts. If you believe these misconceptions, you might opt not to get a prenuptial agreement even if it could be valuable for your marriage. Let’s debunk these myths and explore the truth about the benefits of premarital contracts.
1. Prenuptial Agreements Only Help High-Income Couples
Many people assume that prenups are only helpful if you’re part of the so-called one percent. The assumption is that unless you’re a multi-millionaire with a vacation home in the Bahamas, a prenup couldn’t possibly help you.
A strong premarital contract is valuable for people at any income level. These contracts do much more than just help couples divide high-value assets. Their purpose is to prevent legal and financial disputes before they begin. That means they can also be used to assign ownership of current property, set up rules for the legal relationship, or protect children from a previous marriage.
This means that any couple can benefit from writing a prenup. If either of you has any possessions, assets, or family you want to protect, then a strong prenup may be a good idea.
2. Prenups Aren’t Necessary for Couples with Separate Accounts
There’s a common misunderstanding about how marital property is defined. Some people believe that assets are only marital or community property if they’re held in accounts with both spouses’ names. These people think that placing their income in a separate bank account means it’s separate property, and a prenuptial agreement is unnecessary.
Unfortunately, that’s not the case. In California, any asset a couple acquires during their marriage is automatically community property. The only exception is if there’s a preexisting contract in place stating otherwise. That means that any money you earn while you’re married is considered equally yours and your spouse’s, regardless of where you deposit it.
That’s why premarital contracts are important. These contracts can specify that any money you put in certain accounts is considered your sole property and not community property. This can help you prevent significant financial losses if you get a divorce.
3. Prenuptial Agreements Don’t Hold Up in Court
There’s also a rumor that prenups are regularly ignored when people try to use them in court. Some people even argue that most prenups are thrown out when presented to a judge.
Prenups are treated like any other contract when they’re brought to court. A family court judge will uphold a prenup as long as:
- The agreement is written correctly to be legally binding
- Both parties had appropriate legal counsel before they signed it
- Neither party was coerced into signing it
- No part of the contract violates state or federal laws, such as by limiting child support
Even if the contract goes against state standards for divorce, judges should uphold them if they meet the above criteria.
The best way to make sure a prenuptial contract is honored in court is to work with an experienced attorney when you write it. Qualified divorce lawyers understand the ins and outs of prenups and can make sure your contract is well-written and doesn’t go against state law. They can help you write a rock-solid prenup without the issues that could get it dismissed.
4. Prenups Are Only Useful If You Divorce
Since most people only hear about prenups during dramatic celebrity divorce cases, they assume these contracts are only relevant when a marriage ends. They don’t believe that they have any use while the marriage lasts.
Prenups also have their uses while you’re married. You can use the prenuptial agreement to clarify issues like what each partner should contribute financially to the relationship and who owns what. This can be especially important for business owners and people who like to handle their finances separately.
Prenuptial contracts can also help you set up estate plans and protect your kids. A strong prenup can help you define how children and step-children should be treated if one of you passes away. They can even help you make sure that your kids receive the right inheritance decades down the road.
5. Prenups Hurt Your Relationship
Finally, some couples think that a prenup could hurt their relationship. These couples feel like putting a contract in place shows that they don’t trust their partner or expect their marriage to end. Some even feel like getting a prenup is a sign that their relationship is weak.
Marriage is already a legal contract. A prenuptial contract is just another agreement that refines how your marriage will work. Nothing about a prenup means your current relationship is anything other than a robust and mature partnership.
In fact, getting a prenup can be a sign of how much you and your partner love each other. You can use the contract to protect the other person if your relationship ends or give them more rights in your marriage. Putting in the time and effort to properly write and sign a prenup shows that you care enough to protect each other no matter what the future may bring.
Learn More About How Prenuptial Agreements Can Help You
There are many myths and misconceptions about prenups that can scare people away. The truth is that these contracts are useful, flexible, and valuable documents that you can use to make your marriage fit your needs.
If you’re ready to learn more about how you can use a prenup to prepare for your marriage, get started today by scheduling your consultation with the experts at Regele Law, LLC. They can tell you more about your options, explain how these contracts could help you, and help you write a solid contract that’s personalized for your relationship.