What is a prenuptial agreement and do I need one?
Simply put, a prenuptial agreement, or a prenup, as it is generally called, is a contract signed by two people prior to getting married. This is done in contemplation of a possible divorce or a possible death. As you may know, Nevada is a community property state, so if a couple marries, any property that they obtain, or any debts that they obtain while they are married will be most likely equally divided if a divorce occurs. In order to avoid that, a prenuptial agreement is a good idea. A prenuptial agreement likely specifies how the couple will divide their assets, how they would like to handle their property and also addresses alimony if the couple wishes to put that into their agreement as well.
Do you need a prenuptial agreement? In most typical marriages, I would say it is not mandatory or always necessary, however there are some scenarios where I would suggest a couple should consider a prenuptial agreement:
- If this is a second marriage for either party.
- If there are children from a previous marriage.
- If one or both of you own a business.
- If one or both of you are expecting some sort of a property to be deeded to you or some inheritance from a family member.
- If you have assets that you had prior to getting married.
These are all valid reasons for you to consider a prenuptial agreement. The prenuptial agreement will serve to grant your wishes as it pertains to your property division, therefore avoiding complicated litigation later on. It will also help to avoid costly attorney fees and court fees.
There are some things that you should keep in mind when you are drafting or thinking about a prenuptial agreement.
- A prenuptial agreement cannot contain any agreements that pertain to child custody or child support.
- Both the parties must voluntarily sign the agreement. There should be no coercion, no duress and no fraud in the agreement.
- The agreement should be fair and not so blatantly one-sided for one party.
- Lastly, it is a good idea for you to draft and sign the agreement in plenty of time before the wedding to avoid any impropriety, any suggestion that this was done last minute and one of the parties didn’t have time to get independent counsel to look it over. Or that one of the parties was pressured into signing it at the last minute.
Remember that the courts really closely scrutinize prenuptial agreements and so take the precautions that are necessary to avoid the court not upholding the agreement later on. Lastly, I strongly suggest that you consult with an attorney before doing a prenuptial agreement as there are so many things that can be omitted, so many things that could be worded incorrectly in your agreement and I’d hate for you to draft your agreement, sign it, and then later on, when and if you need it, find out something was done incorrectly and therefore the agreement will not be upheld. Discuss with an attorney prior to signing it and drafting it, to have reassurance that the agreement was done correctly.
If you’re considering a prenuptial agreement, contact our office to discuss any questions you may have with an experienced family law attorney. Set up a consultation at (702) 998-1188, firstname.lastname@example.org or by scheduling a consultation online.