Prenuptial agreements can be very helpful, particularly in high asset divorces. Most people think of a prenuptial agreement as a way for a spouse to protect his or her assets. While this is certainly one reason to use them, prenuptial agreements have a lot of other important and practical uses.
Under Massachusetts law, a prenuptial agreement is a written contract between two people prior to getting married. The purpose of this contract is to set ground rules about how to handle property, finances, and other related issues in case the marriage ends, whether by divorce or death.
The good thing about prenuptial agreements is that you can adapt them for your particular circumstances. If you or your spouse has a lot of assets, you can use the prenuptial agreement to protect those assets in case the marriage ends. You can also use a prenuptial agreement to specify how property will be divided up or to prevent one spouse from assuming the other spouse’s debts. Or you can define the conditions of alimony, like the amount and duration. Prenuptial agreements do not only have to be about finances. In the agreement, you can set terms related to parenting, such as decision-making and allocation of responsibilities.
Perhaps most importantly, prenuptial agreements can help you save a lot of money and stress in the event of a divorce. Getting a divorce can be extremely costly, especially if the divorce is contested. Common costs associated with divorce include court fees, attorney fees, and mediation costs. If real estate is involved, you may end up paying for things like appraisals and refinancing costs. The more contested the divorce is, the more time you may spend in court, thus incurring more costs. Because a prenuptial agreement resolves all or most issues beforehand, you could end up better off in the long run.
Prenuptial agreements still carry a negative stigma, but they are becoming more acceptable. If you have significant assets you want to protect and you are thinking about getting married, you should consider a prenuptial agreement. Keep in mind that the prenuptial agreement must meet certain requirements to be valid, so you may want to consult an experienced family law attorney. They attorney can help ensure that your prenuptial agreement will be enforceable in court.