Raising the topic of a prenuptial agreement with a soon-to-be spouse may be a tricky question; but a necessary one, according to The Wall Street Journal. A recently published article, titled “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Sign Here” highlighted the awkward response often elicited when asking a prospective spouse to sign a premarital contract oftentimes elicits.
When 52-year-old Laura Jackson received a marriage proposal from her now-husband, she admitted to being surprised and a little shocked with the following question, “Will you sign a prenuptial agreement?” She explained, “It definitely took a little bit of the romance out.” Her soon-to-be husband was previously married, had a college-age son and several real-estate investments, according to the article. Jackson had never been married. Her surprise turned to acceptance though, as she found the discussion of assets to be a necessary and beneficial one.
According to Marlene Eskind Moses, president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, prenuptial agreements among the baby boomer generation have “become more commonplace in the market as an estate-planning opportunity.” In other words, established adults who are marrying, whether for the first or third time, are taking the opportunity to address the financial aspects of their unions. The perception of prenuptial agreements has morphed from one of ominous distrust to a situation that ensures peaceful distribution of assets.
In the case of Laura Jackson-Zaremba and her husband, their prenup covered everything from existing properties to life insurance policies. With the assistance of lawyers, Jackson-Zaremba and her husband agreed the majority of investment property would remain under Zaremba’s ownership until a specified date, after which ownership would become a 50-50 split. They also agreed that neither party would inherit each other’s debts in the case of dissolution. Coming up with a plan of action helped Laura, according to her testimony.
Laura explained, “The prenup changed me.” She acknowledged her newfound ability to discuss money, and how it helped her become “more assertive.” She realized the prenuptial agreement was more for mutual protection rather than her soon-to-be husband’s unwillingness to share.
The Wall Street Journal described the situation those without a prenuptial agreement face as being “at the mercy of a smorgasbord of state laws in the event of a divorce or death.” The difference between “community property” states and “equitable distribution” states can result in divorcees receiving a 50/50 split of all assets or a variation determined fair by the courts.
According to Moses, prenuptial agreements today have even branched out to describe terms of marriage. Issues addressed within the agreements can include adultery, intimacy or weight gain. Some contracts even determine future children’s religion, or how they will be educated. Prenuptial agreements not only cover the traditional issues of property and finances but other marital issues important in a successful marriage consistent with the parties’ expectations of each other.
When deciding whether a prenuptial agreement is necessary or appropriate and what provisions should be included, each party should obtain his or her own lawyer. The family law office of Gailor, Wallis & Hunt can help you prepare your prenuptial agreement so that in the case of a divorce or death, your assets will be protected.
The highly respected attorneys of Gailor, Wallis and Hunt have dedicated their lives to helping couples plan for, and preserve their marriage and family, but are also dedicated to assisting men and women obtain a fair and equitable divorce when that is the only alternative. GWH offers knowledge, skill and experience in the many areas of family law that is second to none.
To contact any of the lawyers at Gailor, Wallis & Hunt, call them at 866-362-7586, or visit their website at www.gailorwallishunt.com.
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