As a Birmingham Divorce and Family Law Attorney, I've consulted both women and men regarding prenuptial agreements. One of the major concerns these folks have is how such an agreement, or just the suggestion of it, reflects on the couple's romantic relationship.
To many, the mere mention of a prenup makes them squirm. So it should come as no great surprise that most people are very apprehensive about broaching the subject with a potential spouse. One of the biggest worries is that it calls into question their love for the other person, or worse, that the agreement itself is just setting up the relationship for eventual failure and divorce. Well, that couldn't be farther from the truth.
Sure. The majority of people probably think a prenup is anti-romance — an indication of distrust of the other person, certainly not love. I'm here to tell you that's the wrong way of looking at it. To the contrary, drawing up a prenuptial agreement side-by-side with your future husband or wife can be a sign of incredible trust and financial openness.
Basically, a prenuptial agreement is a written document created between spouses prior to the exchange of marriage vows. These agreements often address property settlements in the event of divorce, and may include other legal issues, such as additional obligations that will arise during marriage. Under Alabama law, certain procedures are required during the formation of the prenup, such as full financial disclosure between the two parties. The law also prohibits prenuptial agreements if they are not truthfully represented.
Although prenups have historically been tagged as wealthy society's prerequisite to marriage, they have actually become more commonplace with the rest of us. Often created before first or subsequent marriages, they are a means of reassuring the soon-to-be spouses that each party's assets are protected. Prenuptial agreements can be used in the event of divorce, death, or to establish other postnuptial agreements.
More importantly, and something many people don't usually consider, is how useful a prenuptial agreement can be in the case of an impending second marriage. This is because there may be sizable assets from the previous marriage that the individual may want to retain sole ownership of — so she can pass those along to any children from the first marriage, for example.
Remember, a court can refuse to enforce portions of a prenuptial agreement, not to mention the entire document altogether, under certain circumstances such as if assets were hidden or if there is evidence that the agreement was created in haste.
As with any legal document — to ensure that your prenuptial agreement is valid and to be sure that your rights are protected — I highly recommend that each party consult with their own attorney prior to entering into the prenup. It may not be seem like the most romantic part of getting hitched, but it could very well make your future together that much more secure.