Premarital, or prenuptial, agreements are legal documents that engaged couples can establish that detail what will happen to both their assets and debts in the event that their marriage ends in divorce. These agreements establish the ownership of property and the financial rights of each spouse in the instance of a divorce. At Arenson Law Group, PC, our Cedar Rapids premarital agreement lawyers are prepared to help you construct a legally binding document that will protect both you and your partner’s assets in the event of a separation. The legal rights to your possessions are important and should be protected. Call (319) 363-8199 to speak with an attorney who can help you uphold your rights.
Why Do I Need a Lawyer?
A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding document that can have a permanent effect on you in the event of a divorce. An attorney that has experience writing prenuptial agreements can be invaluable in making sure that your document is clear and binding in court proceedings regarding premarital assets and property obtained during the marriage. Reasons that you will benefit from having an attorney include:
- Ensure the agreement is valid: Sometimes, prenuptial agreements are scrutinized by judges to see if they are valid and enforceable. Many times, a judge will invalidate a prenuptial agreement after a careful inspection. You will then have to endure a lengthy legal process to settle issues that should have been included in the prenuptial agreement. This would have been avoided had a lawyer drafted it for you. Experienced family law attorneys have written countless prenuptial agreements for their clients.
- State laws can be complicated: Matrimonial laws are extensive and sometimes confusing. In order to make a legally binding agreement, you will need a professional in the field that knows the intricacies of those laws. A lawyer will be able to put together an agreement that meets state requirements and is unambiguous in order to avoid confusion in case of a divorce.
- Clarity: Word choice is very important in a document that will be enforced by a court. The document needs to reflect both parties’ interests in a clear, concise way. If there is ambiguity in the document, people can interpret it differently. If this happens, it is very likely that, in the event of a divorce, you will not get the result you hoped for.
- Ensure content of agreement is complete: Prenuptial agreements will likely contain a lot of information. You will have to ensure you have listed both parties’ property and debt. You will also have to decide what will happen to property or debt you may incur together. It is very easy to miss something. If you do, this may cause a judge to rule that your prenuptial agreement is invalid.
Having a lawyer draft it for you allows you to avoid stress about learning the law and what judges will be looking for to ensure that is it valid. A lawyer can ensure that your prenuptial agreement is legally binding, clear, and complete. This will ensure that, in the unfortunate event of a divorce, everything will go as quickly and as stress-free as possible.
Why Choose Arenson Law Group, PC?
Arenson Law Group, PC has earned a great reputation for its success and its outstanding customer service. Our experienced legal team has dedicated their careers to helping clients with their legal needs. The compassionate group of attorneys understands that while it is not ideal to think about prenuptial agreements, they are useful. They will ultimately expedite the legal process if the marriage ends in a divorce. We are sensitive to the topic and will make the process of making a legally binding agreement easy and quick, so you can get back to thinking about planning a wonderful wedding. They understand that this is the farthest thing from your mind as you are getting ready for your big day.
Because of our dedication to making sure the client is the priority, we have made it very easy to get in contact with an attorney. It is very likely that when you pick up the phone to make an appointment, you will be greeted by a lawyer that is ready to do a quick case evaluation in order to get the process started. Our experienced legal team has earned a great reputation for being very accommodating to clients and for providing quality legal services. Contact Arenson Law Group, PC to get help with your premarital agreement today. Because of our vast experience handling divorce and family law cases, we understand what is necessary to have a binding agreement to avoid conflict in case of a divorce.
Reasons to Form a Premarital Agreement
A premarital agreement can have several purposes, depending on the wants and needs of the couple. The following are some of the important reasons why many couples decide to form a premarital agreement:
- In order to protect premarital assets
- In order to protect a spouse from the debts of the other spouse
- In order to determine how property will be passed in the event of death
- In order to avoid property disputes during a divorce
While no couple plans for a divorce before marrying their partner, protecting your assets may save you from a lengthy legal battle in the event that divorce ever takes place. At Arenson Law Group, PC, our compassionate premarital agreement lawyers have experience working with couples to find the most appropriate and beneficial prenuptial agreement that fits each individual’s unique circumstances.
Terms of a Premarital Agreement
It’s certainly understandable that couples planning on marrying wouldn’t want to consider how they’d proceed in the event of a divorce. However, speaking frankly about these financial issues need not be overly complicated. With the help of an experienced premarital lawyer, broaching numerous subjects can be made much easier. The following subjects may be discussed and included in a premarital agreement:
- Marital Property vs Separate Property – If a couple does not have a premarital agreement stipulating otherwise, a court will divide property acquired by a couple as they see fit. Iowa state law distinguishes between marital property and separate property. Marital property is generally considered anything purchased during the course of a marriage, no matter which spouse purchased it. To avoid having property division decided by a court, consider a premarital agreement.
- Shielding From Other Partners’ Debt – In the event of a divorce, your partner’s creditors can pursue your joint marital property, even if you are not the debtor. A premarital agreement is an effective way to limit your liability if your partner has amassed a large amount of debt.
- Provisions for Children – A premarital agreement can include protections for children from previous marriages. Typically, a partner can write in terms to help ensure that they inherit some of their property.
- Property Protections – Before getting married, you can protect your family’s property, such as future inheritance, business assets, heirlooms, or other property, to ensure that it stays in your birth family’s possession.
- Property Distribution Protections – Property and asset division can be incredibly contentious subjects during the course of a divorce. The process of deciding who gets what can prolong the divorce process considerably. Having thoughtful conversations and coming to an amicable agreement before getting married eases the process if you decide on divorce later on.
- Spousal Responsibility Descriptions – A premarital agreement can even include the duties that each person should fulfill in their partnership. Some of these duties can include responsibility for managing taxes, managing household expenses, managing bank accounts, responsibility for higher education expenses, life insurance distribution in the event of a death, and many other topics.
Terms that cannot be included in a premarital agreement in any enforceable capacity include personal issues rather than financial issues, provisions that incentivize divorce, details outlining anything illegal, and child custody or support decisions. While you may include information about child support, it is not legally binding when included in your premarital agreement.
Frequently Asked Questions
Everyone wants to start their marriage off on the right foot. Premarital agreements can be a great way to ensure that you begin your marriage with a solid mutual understanding. Though the attorneys at Arenson Law Group, PC understand the many benefits that a well-crafted premarital agreement can have, we know you may be feeling uncertain. Read over some of our frequently asked questions and reach out to a member of our team at (319) 363-8199 to discuss your concerns today.
If I Don’t Have Any Valuable Assets, Why Would I Need a Premarital Agreement?
Especially for younger couples, or couples with a decent amount of debt, the thought of protecting their assets through a premarital agreement can seem somewhat silly. If there’s nothing to protect, why bother? The truth is, the act of creating a premarital agreement can raise numerous important money management issues.
While crafting a premarital agreement, you may discuss whether or not you will keep separate bank accounts or contribute to the same account. In addition to this, discussing plans in the event that the marriage doesn’t work out can help put each party in the couple on the same page. Many couples are married before they realize they have different attitudes towards finances. Forcing a conversation about money issues is possibly one of the most important benefits of a premarital agreement.
Can Child Custody Terms Be Built Into My Premarital Agreement?
Yes, but this is more of a formality. In the event that you and your partner end up divorcing, your divorce proceedings will override any stated intentions within your premarital agreement. For example, if in your premarital agreement, you and your spouse decide that you’d like to have joint custody and share all of your child’s expenses equally, a court can look at the facts of your situation and make a determination that doesn’t align with the previously agreed-upon terms.
Can My Partner and I Have the Same Lawyer?
If you are seeking legal help in crafting your premarital agreement, you and your spouse should have legal counsel independent of one another. Especially when one party’s assets are valued far beneath their partner’s the assistance from an independent lawyer will provide important insight and help negotiate a more advantageous arrangement.
Can A Premarital Agreement Be Broken?
Though judges can throw out prenups, it is not common. When you decide to have a premarital agreement crafted, you need to be intentional about the terms. A premarital agreement should not be signed if you or your spouse are not satisfied with the terms. Though coming to agreements may require difficult conversations, you shouldn’t agree to your premarital agreement with the hopes that it will later be broken.
How Do I Start?
If you and your partner are interested in arranging a premarital agreement, start by gathering your financial information which can include your listed assets, liabilities, and all sources of income. Have a discussion with your partner about what you’d like to accomplish through your premarital agreement. Keeping your goals in mind will help both you and your spouse come to an agreement that is beneficial and satisfactory to both of your needs. Lastly, each of you should reach out to a lawyer. Again, it is advisable to hire different attorneys to work on behalf of each of your interests.
Contact a Premarital Agreements Attorney in Cedar Rapids
If you are considering creating a premarital agreement with your future spouse, contact the Cedar Rapids divorce lawyers at Arenson Law Group, PC. Our Cedar Rapids team is experienced in family law and developing contracts that will protect you and your possessions. Call (319) 363-8199 today to learn more information about the legal services we provide.
Written by James H. ArensonLast Updated : October 13, 2023