What Does a Prenuptial Agreement Mean? 

A prenuptial agreement can help prevent acrimonious divorce proceedings by protecting your spouse from automatically receiving a share of your assets upon divorce. They can also be useful to establish maintenance. These documents are not, however, ironclad. While they can be beneficial, they are not always a good idea. 

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Prenuptial agreements prevent unnecessarily acrimonious divorce proceedings. 

A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two individuals that defines who will get what property in a divorce. It is a helpful tool to prevent an acrimonious divorce. It can also determine how much money each spouse will keep, which will reduce the costs and time involved in settling the case. These contracts are drafted and signed prior to the wedding, but are not legally binding until the marriage. 

Prenuptial agreements can be costly, however. Depending on the complexity of the issues involved and the number of amendments to be made, prenuptial agreements can cost as much as $2,400 for each spouse. In some cases, couples may spend upwards of $7,500 for a prenuptial agreement. 

They prevent your spouse from automatically receiving a share of your assets in a divorce settlement 

A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract that protects your assets and prevents your future spouse from automatically inheriting them. During a marriage, many couples purchase things on credit. As such, assets that are bought on credit during a marriage become community assets, which are held jointly by both parties. A prenup will prevent your future spouse from inheriting your assets and debts. This is important if you have assets, such as homes and cars, and if you plan to sell your property or if you want to recoup some of the debt that you incurred while dating. 

In addition to protecting your assets, a prenup will also protect your premarital debts. A prenup will protect these assets from your spouse in the event of a divorce, and it can prevent the payment of spousal support if you were to separate. A prenup can also protect the value of your home and any joint account funds that you have. 

They can establish maintenance 

Prenuptial agreements are legal documents addressing issues such as division of assets at the end of the marriage and support payments in the event of a divorce. Attorneys can help clients determine the appropriate terms of the agreement and explain any tax implications. They can also make suggestions based on the client’s personal circumstances. In many cases, a prenup will establish spousal maintenance, which is often paid for a period of years. 

Prenuptial agreements are also a great way for couples to protect their wealth status during divorce. By clearly defining separate property, a prenup can ensure that if the couple divorces, the separate property will be treated appropriately. It can also establish responsibilities regarding the division of the marital estate and can prevent the spouse from incurring debt. 

They are not always ironclad 

Although prenuptial agreements are often deemed to be ironclad, they are not always so. There are some circumstances in which prenuptial agreements can be declared invalid, including unforeseen circumstances, like a change in the financial status of one of the spouses, or a sudden death. In such a case, the assets named in the agreement may no longer be protected and could be divided between the two parties if a divorce occurs. In addition, the original execution of a prenuptial agreement may have been performed under duress or involuntarily, making it unconscionable. The court has the right to overturn such agreements if they are deemed unjustified or unconscionable. 

There are also cases in which a prenuptial agreement may be declared invalid if the parties sign it under duress or coercion. For example, if the agreement was signed just hours before the wedding, it would strengthen the argument that the spouses were under duress or coercion.