Prenuptial Agreement on a table.

How Does A Prenuptial Agreement Impact A Divorce?

Sometimes first marriages end catastrophically and leave their victims wary as they enter into a new relationship or marriage. This wariness can be cause for the drafting of a prenuptial agreement before a wedding, because at this point in their lives, a spurned person may need their best interests in mind should their new marriage dissolve.

Unfortunately, triggering the effects of a prenup can become a reality for divorcing couples, and many don’t realize exactly how the agreement changes the divorce process. Here are some of the ways that a prenuptial agreement does and doesn’t impact a divorce.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

Prenuptial agreements are a document that a couple drafts prior to their marriage. In short, a prenup  states that the personal property of each individual in the marriage remains their personal property in the case of a divorce.

Although the process can seem clean cut on paper, prenups can have quite the impact on some important aspects of a divorce, and are often viewed as a point of contention between a couple should the marriage fail.

Prenups Can Speed Up Some Processes of Divorce

There are several parts of a divorce that a prenuptial agreement can immediately clear up. However, before any decisions are set in stone, your divorce lawyers must confirm that your agreement is valid in the eyes of the courts:

  • Your agreement cannot show coercion or overreaching
  • The agreement must disclose every piece of relevant information prior to the signing of the document
  • The party cannot have agreed to dissolve the agreement at any point in time of the marriage

Property Division

Prenuptial agreements can shorten the discovery process and help speed up the division of marital property. Individual property obtained prior to the marriage is instantly granted to the rightful owner.

Also, couples who enter prenuptial agreements, often agree beforehand “who gets what” when purchasing new property together. So, in the best of circumstances the presence of a prenup can also lead to reduced in-couple arguments that lengthen proceedings.

Debt Liability

When shared debt pops up, prenuptial agreements often determine who takes on responsibility of said debt. Individual debt remains your own, but other items can be added to a person’s load based on prenup terms.

Shared debt can include the following:

  • Legal Fees
  • Mortgages
  • Car Loans
  • Joint Credit Card Balances

Is Alimony Affected By a Prenup?

In some situations, if a couple has preemptively agreed on the outcome of alimony payments in a prenuptial agreement, the courts can uphold this. However, the problem comes into play when a spouse signs the agreement fully expecting to never divorce and now finds the agreed upon alimony unfair.

In these situations, the courts will lead into dispute resolution that requires a longer divorce process due to having to track down accurate, current financial information about each spouse.

However, you can always address your prenuptial concerns with your divorce lawyer and have that financial proof ready to go when the time comes to address the courts.

Prenups Don’t Directly Impact Issues Involving Children

When it comes to child support and child custody, prenuptial agreements go out the window. These two aspects of the divorce are determined by the traditional processes of the courts in order to uphold the best quality of life for the children involved.

If you seek divorce but have questions about the specifics of your prenuptial agreement, the divorce lawyers of Nilsson Legal Group are here to help! We are experienced in navigating our clients through the trials of divorce and helping them start the new chapter of their lives. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.