Hyden, Miron & Foster, PLLC Law Blog

Monday, June 24, 2019

Prenuptial Agreements: Hoping for the Best While Preparing for the Worst

The act of marriage often conjures up the feelings of love, commitment, and a joining of two hearts. But what many fail to also recognize is that marriage is also a joining of two sets of assets. One of the most significant financial decisions that you can ever make is the act of getting married. That’s why it is so important that you protect yourself, your family, and your assets in case your love story doesn’t work out. 

Protecting Your Assets

A prenuptial agreement, or prenup, is a contract that protects your assets from the moment that you get married. It specifies how you and your spouse will execute the answer to financial questions should the marriage not work out or should one of you pass. In Arkansas, the law allows for these prenups to include how you are going to divide your assets as well as your debts – especially for those that you may have brought into the marriage. Prenups can also cover alimony upon divorce, though in Arkansas they cannot cover either child support or custody arrangements. 

In order to obtain and legally effectuate a prenuptial agreement (prior to the marriage), state law requires that both future spouses:

  1. Sign voluntarily;
  2. In the presence of (represented by) an attorney for each person; and
  3. You list all of your assets honestly. 

If you fail to meet any of these three requirements upon signing, the prenup may be considered as “unconscionable” upon divorce or even void upon death. 

Why Would Anyone Get a Prenup?

One of the most common reasons that couples decide to get a prenuptial agreement is when the marriage is not their first – when it is also later in life. Per Arkansas law, the idea of what one spouse would receive upon the death of another spouse was built on a time when women were unable to work outside of the home and needed a man as the sole bread winner. The law was designed for young couples that went into a first marriage and would not divorce. Upon the death of the husband, the wife was given only a one-third interest in order to keep her afloat until she was able to remarry. Prenups are so useful because now couples can decide what division and which rules work best for them. 

Another common reason as to why someone would get a prenup is if they have significantly more wealth than their future spouse. This prevents someone from having someone marry him or her solely for their assets. Though prenups may not seem all too romantic, in this scenario they are in that they ensure that the marriage is about love and not money from the very beginning. 

This also may be a good idea even for couples that have similar wealth should they wish to ensure that they keep control of specific pieces of property regardless of what happens. 

If you or a loved one has any questions on estate planning and prenuptial agreements, contact Hyden, Miron & Foster, PLLC today!

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