Among the many decisions couples make when planning to marry is the decision about whether to get a Prenuptial Agreement. Prenuptial Agreement decisions are highly personal ones. If one party has children, there may be reasons to protect assets for that party’s children. If one party has significantly more wealth than the other, there may be the desire to shield that wealth from the divorce litigation process. There can be other reasons, too, including a desire to establish a plan for dividing assets and handling alimony if the need arises.
Misconceptions About Prenups
Couples may feel that having a prenuptial agreement is the antithesis of romance. This view is misguided. While idealized marriages in movies and on television may not include the signing of a prenuptial agreement, in the real world having a prenuptial agreement is an incredibly effective method of one’s assets in the case of divorce, separation, or one partner’s death.
Another misconception regarding prenuptial agreements is that only wealthy couples need them. In fact, even couples of more modest means can utilize prenuptial agreements to avoid potentially costly and time-consuming divorce litigation if they decide to terminate the marriage.
Let’s explore some of the reasons that couples choose to enter into prenuptial agreements.
Prenuptial Agreement Mediation and the Law
For couples who decide that a prenuptial agreement is right for them, doing a prenuptial mediation with professional legal guidance may be a helpful step. During a prenuptial agreement mediation, the couple meets with a mediator who is neutral between the two parties to determine the specific parameters of the agreement.
While having a mediator help in setting out the terms is a good plan, it is important to note that in South Carolina, for a prenuptial agreement to be valid each party must have independently obtained the advice of legal counsel before signing the prenuptial agreement. In addition to having independent legal advice, there are other legal requirements involving full financial disclosure and sufficient time to decide prior to signing the prenuptial agreement.
A primary function of having a prenuptial agreement is to define and plan for the division of the assets should the marriage come to an end. However, this is not the only function that a prenuptial agreement can serve.
- Children – Some couples choose to get a prenuptial agreement because one or both of them have children from a prior relationship. Prenups can ensure that premarital assets intended for the children’s inheritance are protected during a divorce.
- Managing Debt – Without a prenuptial agreement, one individual may become liable for the debts of their spouse incurred during the marriage. Managing debt is another advantage of having a prenup.
- Alimony Parameters – Prenups can provide for alimony waivers or set out specific parameters for the payment of alimony or spousal support in the event of a separation or divorce.
Having a prenuptial agreement in place can simplify the divorce process and alleviate some of the emotional stress of divorce litigation.
If you are in the Charleston, SC area and are considering whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you, obtaining experienced legal counsel is a crucial first step. Finding a family law attorney in Charleston with experience in preparing prenuptial agreements is simple when you contact Bleecker Family Law. Contact us by calling 843-571-2725 for a consultation today!