No one wants or expects a flood to wash away their home or burglars to steal their valuables. Nevertheless, responsible owners still obtain flood insurance and personal property insurance. It just makes good sense to be prepared for the unwanted and the unexpected.
Similarly, no one (or at least almost no one) wants or expects to get divorced. Nevertheless, responsible spouses, especially if they have been married before, should obtain premarital agreements. Once again, it makes sense to be prepared for the unexpected.
However, when a Buffalo family law lawyer prepares a prenuptial agreement, it is much more than divorce insurance. Such an agreement places your marriage on a firmer foundation. Here are a few of the specific benefits.
Remove Money from the Equation
A recent British poll confirmed what most people already suspected. Arguments over money were the leading cause of divorce in the U.K. Significantly, most spouses who squabble with their significant other over money blamed the other spouse for these problems.
According to this same study, disagreements over money have deep roots. Fundamentally, some people are savers and some people are spenders. That’s just the way it is. But these financial leanings usually stay below the surface while a couple is dating. By the time they figure out there is a problem, one of them probably already has an appointment with a Buffalo divorce lawyer.
A premarital agreement eliminates this problem. Instead of sparring over money, the couple simply refers to the contract they signed before the marriage.
As a bonus, when a Buffalo divorce lawyer draws up the agreement, the couple reviews it is a clinical and non-emotional manner. That attitude helps prevent rash financial decisions which one, or both, spouses might regret later.
Protect Inheritance and Succession Rights
For the most part, only biological or adopted children have inheritance rights. Stepchildren generally have no rights at all in this area. Many times, the stepparent intends a different result. For example, if Jose dies suddenly, he may want his stepson to take over the business as opposed to his estranged biological daughter. That’s especially true if Jose’s stepson already has an active role in the business. If Jose dies suddenly, his partners and employees might wish to continue working with his stepson as opposed to someone they neither know nor trust.
A premarital agreement is one of the only legal documents which can override Minnesota’s antiquated intestacy laws. To cement the deal, Buffalo divorce lawyers often draw up wills, trusts, and other testamentary or executory documents which back up the premarital agreement.
Avoid a Protracted Marriage Dissolution Proceeding
Two-thirds of second marriages end in divorce, and three-fourths of third marriages end the same way. Some psychologists believe that many of these people are still on the rebound from their prior marriages. Others point out that, in many subsequent marriages, the husband and wife have no biological children. As such, these marriages lack that emotional glue.
Even if the marriage ends in divorce, that does not mean that the spouses dislike each other. A smooth divorce often preserves what little civility is left, and a premarital agreement is a good way to bring about that result. As mentioned, premarital agreements cover both emotional and financial issues.
Debt or Asset Imbalance
Sometimes, the prince marries the pauper. Premarital agreements offer protection for the prince’s assets in these and other situations. Many times, assets have an emotional value which eclipses any financial value. A retirement account is a good example. Even if it does not contain much money, it represents long-term security.
More commonly, one spouse has significant debt. Student loan and other obligations are sometimes almost financially crippling. Without a premarital agreement, the non-debtor spouse could be liable for the other spouse’s debts. Additionally, if the other spouse used marital funds to pay off the debt, there may be little or no recourse.
Part of an Overall Financial Plan
If the aforementioned insurance analogy is not enough to sell a reluctant spouse on the need for a premarital agreement, it can be part of a package deal.
Emotionally, a subsequent marriage is usually a new beginning. A couple can use this spirit to begin anew in other areas as well, including their finances. Just like a premarital agreement can also settle inheritance, succession, and other testamentary matters, it can also be the centerpiece of a financial package that includes retirement accounts, college savings plans, or other such vehicles.
Reach Out to Diligent Attorneys
Premarital agreements strengthen subsequent marriages in several different ways. For a free consultation with an experienced Buffalo divorce lawyer, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. After-hours visits are available.