Exploring prenuptial agreements

Many people in Wisconsin and elsewhere in the nation believe prenuptial agreements are for wealthy individuals or celebrities with significant assets to protect. While this is largely true, documents of this nature can be just as beneficial for individuals of average means who are looking to safeguard certain assets before tying the knot.

A well-prepared prenup is designed to reduce the expenses often associated with the end of a marriage. Predetermining asset division prior to exchanging "I dos" could also minimize emotion-fueled battles, which sometimes get fairly contentious and costly if divorcing spouses choose to dig their heels in. A prenup can also provide an incentive for soon-to-be-spouses to be upfront about their existing assets and debts prior to marriage. This step may reduce arguments should a marriage end.

In general, what each spouse owned individually prior to marriage is considered separate property. The potential problem here is that documents proving who brought what assets into a marriage can be lost over the years, especially with longer marriages. But if a prenup is prepared so that it includes copies of such documents, there may be less confusion should a couple decide to call it quits in the future. Another option for couples preferring to err on the side of caution with a prenup is to do annual disclosures of assets to ensure financial details remain up to date.

It's important to note that a prenuptial agreement may be voided if the terms are unfair. A family law attorney may be able to minimize such issues for a client by reviewing how it is worded before it is signed by both parties.

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