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Prenuptial Agreements FAQ

What exactly does a prenuptial agreement do? For one thing, a prenuptial agreement does not have to mean that you are already thinking about the possibility of a divorce. It actually can include stipulations about your finances during the marriage. Of course, it is also a precaution, a way of outlining how property division would work if there should ever be a divorce. Otherwise, your assets will be at the mercy of state law and a judge.

But what about it's being totally unromantic? Doesn't it also convey a lack of trust? Not at all. In fact, one family law attorney calls it "a financial mission statement". You and your fiancé can agree on financial goals and roles, helping you come to a financial agreement that can help you moving forward. If done right, it is also protecting your loved one if a divorce should ever occur. You can create stipulations about most things that come up in a divorce, except for child custody. A court will never acknowledge any such agreement. Also, if you are getting married or re-married later in live, your prenup can detail which assets will be passed down to your children when you pass away.

Isn't this only for rich couples? Prenups may be more prevalent among wealthier people, but anyone can benefit from them. This can be especially true when one spouse quits their job to move, and/or to care for the children. With a prenuptial agreement, they can be assured of a measure of financial security. Or perhaps one spouse is going to pay the other's way through college. You could detail how this will work in a prenup, and you could further stipulate what happens with the debt if there is a split.

What does this cost? Perhaps you are worried about the present expenses it would take to create a prenup. You will have to ask a family law attorney about the specifics, as the fees will depend on the hourly rate, where you live, and how complex your finances are. As a general ballpark number, however, you might be investing a thousand or a couple thousand dollars. So maybe you want to try creating one yourself to save money, but in the long run, it could cost you much more to end up with a prenup that will not hold up in court. That is, unless neither of you have enough in assets to justify investing this much in the prenuptial agreement. While you do not have to be wealthy to have a prenup, getting one may not be worth it for some couples.

Are you stuck with a prenup once it is finished? No, not if you can both agree to modify it. You can revoke the prenuptial agreement, and then draw up a brand new version. Some couples actually put an expiration date on their prenups. If they set this at ten years, then after a decade, the couple can look over the prenup and make any modifications that are necessary.

What if I'm already married? While you cannot draft a prenup, you can write up a postnuptial agreement. Usually, this is something that a married couple wants to create in order to safeguard their children's inheritance. For example, there could be a stipulation that if you pass away, your spouse has to create a prenuptial before remarrying, a prenup that would make sure all your assets get passed down to the children you had together, and not to a new spouse.

While this is just a brief overview, it certainly is clear that a prenup can be decidedly helpful for couples, without snuffing out the romance either. If you want to learn more about how a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help you, please do not hesitate to contact Hopper, Hopper & Mulligan, PLLC. A Raleigh family law attorney from our firm can help your family to a healthier financial future.

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I came to Kevin with a nasty divorce situation complete with kiddos & an affair (tho not by me!) The whole mess was devastating, emotionally & financially. But in the end, Kevin was money well spent! I have my life back, my kids live with me, & a very nice settlement to top it off. And I must say, it was great seeing my ex on the stand getting caught in his lies! --My mild-mannered lawyer was a pit bull in the courtroom!
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