Marriage is not only an expression of your love but also a legal agreement that binds together your finances. While you may not want to consider what could happen if your marriage fails or when one of you passes away, it’s best to be prepared for every possibility.
Work with the experienced attorneys at KJK to protect yourself and your spouse-to-be with a prenuptial agreement in Cleveland.
What are Prenuptial Agreements?
Prenuptial agreements, also called antenuptial agreements in Ohio, exist to protect a party’s financial assets before signing getting married. However, you cannot use a prenuptial agreement to encourage divorce. Most importantly, a prenuptial agreement can protect assets you own at the time you get married and assets you may receive during the marriage from a gift or inheritance—in case of divorce or death.
Additionally, your prenuptial agreement becomes void if you or your spouse were coerced into signing it, including by an outside party, like a parent or grandparent. The same applies if one spouse fails to disclose relevant financial information or assets before signing the agreement.
Both parties should have their own lawyer scrutinize the document to protect their interests. At KJK, we pride ourselves on protecting our client’s rights and assets.
How Fast Can You Create a Prenuptial Agreement?
Depending on your circumstances, a “prenup” could take a few days or a few months to create, but the agreement cannot be signed immediately prior to the wedding without risking it being found invalid later on. To make the process smoother, bring both your and your partner’s financial information with you to your initial consultation with your KJK lawyer.
If you don’t have a clear idea of your accounts or aren’t sure what you should include in your prenup, our lawyers can guide you through the process. However, this could lengthen the time it takes to create your prenup.
If both you and your partner work together to create the prenup, that can speed up the process. However, even if you write it together, both partners should have their own lawyer review the document. If you write it without your partner’s input, they or their lawyer may have concerns or alterations, drawing out the process.
How Soon Before My Wedding Should I Get a Prenuptial Agreement?
While you can negotiate and sign your prenuptial agreement in the weeks or months before your wedding, it doesn’t become legal until after you marry. It’s best to start discussing whether you want a prenup, what you should include in it, and how it can protect both of you soon after getting engaged.
Many people have a negative view of prenuptial agreements, considering them to be bad luck or a sign that their partner believes their relationship is doomed. Historically, prenups have also often been one-sided, making many women skeptical of them.
However, today’s legal protections mean every prenup must be fair, or the court could throw it out in the event of a divorce. To ensure your prenup is fair and both parties wholly consent, open a discussion as soon as possible. The longer you have to discuss it, the more likely both of you can agree on the terms whole-heartedly.
Two or three months before your wedding, make an appointment with one of the family law lawyers at KJK. Although you may not need the entire time to create the prenup, you want to ensure you both have enough time to review the document with your individual lawyers and don’t feel rushed to sign it in the days leading up to the wedding.
Fact vs. Fiction:
Common Misconceptions About Prenuptial Agreements
Because prenups have such a long history, there are many common misconceptions about them, which sometimes deter people from suggesting one to their partner. Common misconceptions include:
They’re only for the rich
While traditionally wealthy people prioritize prenups, couples of all income levels can benefit from having one. Besides protecting your assets, discussing a prenup means you both go into your marriage with full knowledge of each other’s financial situations. Since finances are one of the top reasons for divorces, having a level-headed discussion pre-marriage can make your relationship less likely to fail.
You only need them for divorce
Prenups can cover various circumstances, including who pays for what expenses and creating a plan for your assets if one of you passes away.
They only protect the rich spouse
Because Ohio law requires prenups to be fair, it protects both spouses. The spouse with fewer assets can rest assured they won’t leave the marriage penniless if a divorce occurs, and the one with assets knows their family business won’t be up for grabs during divorce proceedings.
Benefits for Both Spouses:
Common Reasons to Get a Prenuptial Agreement
Besides the top reason for asset protection, there are many reasons couples may choose to create a prenuptial agreement. At KJK, we offer our legal services to create prenups that provide a variety of benefits for both spouses.
A well-written prenuptial agreement can include a plan for how the couple splits expenses, laying out which expenses each spouse takes on individually and which expenses they share. Examples of individual expenses may include business costs, child support for children from a previous relationship or maintenance on a property a spouse owned before the marriage.
Shared expenses usually include living costs, like rent or a mortgage, and child care.
Couples can also discuss whether college loans are a shared or joint expense and other expenses related to education.
If one spouse plans to stay home after having children, you can include a contingency for spousal support in your prenup in the case of divorce. Since taking years out of the workforce to raise children can significantly decrease your earning potential, having the promise of spousal support could make that decision easier.
Dividing debts and property during divorce
Besides protecting your pre-existing property, a prenup can also state who takes on the responsibility for debts, including college loans, credit card debt, mortgages and car payments.
Talking through your debts can also help ensure you agree about how much debt you wish to take on.
Inheritance if one spouse dies
Although thinking about the death of your spouse is unpleasant, estate planning is essential. While your prenup may not address everything, you can ensure your spouse receives certain benefits and financial protections upon your death.
At your prenuptial agreement appointment at KJK, ask our experienced team about creating a will and other estate planning essentials, which you should update after your marriage to include your new spouse.
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Protect Yourself With a Prenuptial Agreement from KJK
Our team at KJK has extensive experience creating prenuptial agreements in Cleveland and throughout Northeast Ohio. Call us today to schedule an appointment and protect yourself and your spouse.