There are a lot of misconceptions about prenuptial agreements. As family law practitioners, we hear all kinds of crazy questions about prenups. Most of the time, our clients are afraid to ask even the most basic questions. We have prepared this list of the most commonly asked questions about prenuptial agreements to help dispel some of the myths about prenuptial agreements.
1. I don’t have anything do I really need a prenup?
You don’t need a prenup if you are both poor and have no chance of ever having anything, ever, including business, a pension, property, cars, a job, investments, pets or an inheritance. While most people think prenuptial agreements are only for people who have lots of money, they are usually for the everyday person. Essentially, having the prenup is like buying insurance – you hope you never need it, but it is there in case you do.
Having a prenup can also be helpful to a spouse with fewer assets because individuals will often quit a job or relocate prior to marriage. A prenup can ensure that they are made financially whole in the event of a divorce or legal separation.
Most prenups address spousal support in the event of divorce as well as how assets and debts, both prior to marriage and those acquired during the marriage will be divided. A solid prenup can also address the rights of a spouse upon death or incapacity of their partner.
2. Is my spouse asking me to sign a prenup because they don’t trust me?
In our experience, absolutely not. Usually, a spouse asks for a prenup because they are trying to protect an asset they own prior to marriage or save their spouse from substantial debt accumulated prior to marriage. Having a prenup can be a win-win for both parties and doesn’t mean that one party is not trustworthy. Rather, having a prenup should be considered as a way for a married couple to create their marital financial roadmap. Most sound prenups are more involved than simply saying who gets what if the parties divorce. A good prenuptial agreement will define how property should be acquired and what happens to the property if one party should pass away or become incapacitated. Drafting a prenuptial agreement can really assist an engaged couple in planning for their financial future rather than being used as a testament of distrust.
3. Why can’t we just write down on a piece of
paper who gets what? Why do we need a lawyer?
There are so many reasons that a do-it-yourself prenuptial agreement is a bad idea that we cannot state them all here. While there are many legal documents that can be drafted on your own, a prenup is not one of them. In our experience, most prenups that were drafted by divorcing spouses themselves, or even drafted by a notary, have been deemed unenforceable.
Furthermore, Nevada has an entire statute (NRS 123A), dedicated to the content and enforcement of prenups. In the event the parties draft their own prenup and get divorced, the divorce judge will look to the statute to see if the prenup complies – in most cases, the prenup does not meet the strict standards of the statutes and will be deemed unenforceable. Simply, having a prenup drafted by an attorney ensures that the agreement is sound and complies with the law.
4. Can we change the terms of the prenup
later if something changes?
Of course. Prenuptial agreements can always be modified at a later date as long as both parties agree. Usually a prenuptial agreement modification must be in writing and signed by both parties to become enforceable.
5. How much is a prenup going to cost me?
At our firm, we do not charge by the hour for drafting the prenup. Instead, we charge a flat fee that ranges anywhere from $375 to $3,500 depending upon the complexity of the agreement being drafted and the nature of the assets and debts involved.
For more information about prenuptial agreements, please contact our office at (702) 433-2889 or fill out our on-line form for more information.