For many years, prenuptial agreements — “prenups” — were thought of as tools used by the rich and famous to stop their exes from running off with half their fortune in a divorce. That idea, however, is outdated. Today, many couples sign a prenup before marrying. This is in part because prenuptial agreements can provide thoughtful solutions to difficult and highly emotional challenges.
At its most basic, a prenup is a legally binding contract that includes instructions for how assets and debts will be handled if a married couple ever decides to divorce. It can also include terms outlining when, how and if spousal support will be paid.
To understand some of the benefits of a prenup, you should first understand some of the ways in which prenups have been misrepresented. Common misconceptions include:
- Signing a prenup means you don’t believe in your marriage — Hoping for the best but preparing for the worst is practical, even if it’s not romantic. When you and your future spouse recognize that divorces happen, you can take measures to make any future breakup as amicable and respectful as possible. Couples who come together to talk through and agree on terms of a prenup before marriage may strengthen their bond and communication skills.
- Prenups are only for rich people — Marriage merges the financial assets and debts of every couple, whether partners are equal earners or have vastly different levels of wealth. Regardless of how much you have in the bank, a prenup can give you control over matters like which property you are entitled to and how debts should be handled. When a prenup doesn’t exist, a divorce court will look to divide marital property based on what is “equitable.” A prenup allows a couple to set the terms for property.
- A prenup lets one spouse take advantage of the other — When prenups are done right, there is not a winner and a loser, but rather two individuals who are satisfied with the agreement. In drafting and finalizing a prenup, each partner is represented by their own attorney, and both parties work together to strike fair deals.
- Prenups are impersonal — If you do not enter into a marriage with a prenup, your divorce is subject to the rules set by Michigan legislators. A prenup is personal, and gives you and your partner the ability to make agreements that work for your marriage instead of leaving it up to the state.
With more than 40 years of experience in Michigan divorce litigation, I possess a thorough understanding of the state’s laws regarding marital asset division and prenups. If you would like to discuss whether a prenup may be right for your marriage, call Dawson Family Law PLLC in Sterling Heights to schedule your free initial consultation. You can reach me by phone at 833-671-4445 or contact me online.