Prenuptial agreements might be one of the most unnecessarily controversial planning tools available. Many people in South Dakota form opinions about prenups without actually knowing much about them. Unfortunately, this means that a significant number of soon-to-be married couples miss out on valuable protections.
While wealthy South Dakota residents might have more interests to protect than others, this does not mean that you cannot utilize prenuptial agreements if you have fewer assets. In reality, prenups can benefit most couples in the event of a divorce.
Do I really need a prenup?
You might think that prenuptial agreements do not have anything of value to offer you. Instead of viewing these documents as doing something for you, it is perhaps better to think of what they can protect. Should you divorce, your property — even possessions that you brought into the marriage — might be subject to asset division.
Before deciding that a prenuptial agreement is not for you, consider what a prenup can do for you:
- Protect your personal property during asset division
- Protect you from your partner's debts
- Provide guidance on financial responsibilities during marriage
- Outline property rights after death
Skipping the prenup is costly
Like many others, you might want to avoid asking your future spouse for a prenup out of fear that he or she will question your commitment. Unfortunately, even the most dedicated couples get divorced — with and without a prenup.
If you do not have a prenuptial agreement that limits your debt liability, you could be on the hook for half of the debt incurred during your marriage even if your spouse was largely responsible for its accumulation. Also, if you do not specify who gets what in a prenuptial agreement, any personal property that you acquired during your marriage might be subject to asset division.
Making a prenup is important — making it valid even more so
South Dakota family law is complicated, and it is not enough for you to simply make a list of your assets and wishes. Although, historically, courts approached prenups with a much greater amount of scrutiny than today, the courts will still closely analyze yours during a divorce.
Accuracy is key to ensuring that a prenuptial agreement is enforceable. It is important for those who intend to create a prenup to consider the valuable input of an experienced attorney who is familiar with family law and divorce.