Prenuptial Agreement Lawyers
Before you and your soon-to-be-spouse officially say “I do” and enter into the union that is marriage, there are a lot of things to consider. Not only are you surely preoccupied with planning a wedding, but you may also be thinking about how marriage will affect your finances, and whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you. At The Cate Law Firm, P.A., our experienced family law attorneys have helped many couples create practical prenuptial agreements that provide peace of mind. To learn more, please call our legal team today for a consultation.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a legal agreement that is entered into pre-marriage by both parties (postnuptial agreements are identical to prenuptial agreements, with the only difference being that they are entered after the marriage has taken place). These agreements are contracts between prospective spouses that outline how matters, particularly financial matters, will be handled during the marriage and if the marriage ends in divorce or death of one of the spouses.
What Issues Can Be Addressed in a Prenuptial Agreement?
Prenuptial agreements are primarily used to address financial matters between spouses. With that in mind, a prenuptial agreement may include language regarding:
- How separate and marital property will be managed during a marriage;
- The right of each spouse to acquire or sell property during the marriage;
- How each spouse’s debts will be handled and whether these debts will remain separate;
- What will happen to property in the event of a divorce;
- Whether or not a divorce will yield spousal maintenance payments;
- The right of each spouse to the inheritance of the other;
- The formation and provisions of wills and trusts;
- What will happen to family property, such as a family-owned business, in the event of death or divorce;
- Leaving property to children, either children the couple has together or children from a previous relationship; and
- The right to certain benefits, such as death benefits from a life insurance policy.
For the most part, the state of South Carolina allows for a premarital agreement to address any issue that is not explicitly prohibited by statute, or that is illegal. Indeed, the South Carolina Uniform Premarital Agreement Act reads that issues that are addressable in a prenuptial agreement include “personal rights and obligations, not in violation of public policy or law…”
With the above in mind, the Act explicitly bars parties to a prenuptial agreement from making any determinations about child support within the agreement.
Advantages of a Prenuptial Agreement
Many couples dismiss prenuptial agreements with the idea that a prenuptial agreement is equivalent to starting the marriage off with doubts about the outcome. However, this is not necessarily the case, and those who enter a prenuptial are realistically and practically planning for a future that is unknown and protecting themselves and their spouse in the event that something happens, ranging from separation to death. These agreements can also be used to protect important family businesses or heirlooms or ensure that a child from another marriage is provided for. A prenuptial agreement can also mitigate stress, uncertainty, and conflict surrounding what will happen if a divorce does take place in the future. Divorcing couples often waste time, energy, and money fighting about a divorce settlement; with a prenuptial agreement, these issues are addressed from the start, and there is little disagreement to be had.
How is a Prenuptial Agreement Formed?
Prenuptial agreements are formed when both parties agree on the provisions of the agreement. A prenuptial agreement will be found invalid when:
- One party to the agreement did not enter the agreement voluntarily;
- The agreement was “unconscionable,” or unreasonable, at the time that it was created and one party to the agreement…
- wasn’t provided fair and reasonable disclosure of all property,
- did not waive their right to disclosure of any property, and
- therefore did not have knowledge of all property and assets and debts of the other party.
This means that when forming a premarital agreement, it is strongly recommended that each party be represented by an attorney. An attorney can help you to understand your rights, as well as your duties to disclose all information about your financial picture, and to obtain this information from the other party. An attorney can also advise you regarding whether the agreement is within your best interests.
Enforcing a Prenuptial Agreement During Divorce
In addition to working with couples to form prenuptial and postnuptial agreement in South Carolina, our attorneys can also represent you if you need to enforce a prenuptial agreement during a divorce. It is important to know that a court does not have to issue a divorce settlement in accordance with a prenuptial agreement, if they find the agreement to be unconscionable. If you are going through a divorce and want to ensure that your prenuptial agreement is enforced, we strongly encourage you to hire an experienced and knowledgeable attorney.
Call the Cate Law Firm, P.A. Today to Schedule an Appointment
Prenuptial agreements are one part of being responsible and forming a plan for your future before entering a marriage. At The Cate Law Firm, P.A., we have experience with helping couples of all ages and financial backgrounds create prenuptial agreements. If you have been thinking about the advantages of a prenuptial agreement and have questions, our lawyers are here to provide you with the honest and informative answers you’re looking for. To ask your questions today, please call our law offices at 864-585-4226, visit our Spartanburg location in person, or send us a brief message using the intake form on our website.