When I think about Valentine’s Day, I think about love. I also think about dinner at a fancy restaurant, chocolates, jewelry and a sweet card. While love is free – even in Las Vegas – those other Valentine’s essentials cost money – and that’s where the topic of prenuptial agreements (prenups) come in. Prenups provide a basis for your financial future with your partner… and that’s sexy! Wouldn’t you like a relationship that values open discussion about finances and future goals? If you answered “yes”, you may want to consider a prenuptial agreement. By setting the course of your finances before marriage or a domestic partnership, there is less of a chance of future disagreement about the Number 1 topic that leads to divorce – money. A noted matrimonial attorney recently said “there’s not a single person who couldn’t benefit from a prenup, even if you’re going into marriage with little assets. You might accumulate assets during the marriage, and even a young couple embarking on their own careers want to make sure that what they acquire during marriage isn’t just left up to a judge to divide.” Being able to communicate openly about money before marriage or moving in together breaks down one of the major barriers that complicates relationships. Nevada is a community property state, so unless there is a prenup stating otherwise, assets that are accumulated during the marriage will be divided equally. What is not always clear is how property acquired before marriage will be divided in divorce. If a party has a house or a retirement account before marriage and continues to pay into these during the marriage, then it is often difficult to determine how the house or the retirement account will be later divided. The problem is that the real estate and the retirement account would be part separate property and part community property. A prenup can insure that each party receives his or her retirement and real property, regardless of whether funds continued to be expended during the marriage. What if you have children from a previous relationship that you want to protect financially? A prenup can keep the Court out of the decision making process about how these assets are divided and clearly determine how the division will occur upon divorce. There are many legal issues that a prenup can handle, such as whether a party’s income is separate or community income, whether funds in an account are separate or shared, and how real property (houses, condominiums, etc.) will be divided. A prenup can also handle how home furnishings, jewelry, retirement and investment accounts are divided upon divorce. Division of debts is also an excellent issue that can be covered by a prenup. Basically, a good prenup leaves little doubt as to how property, assets and debts will be divided in the event of a divorce. This then can allow you both to remain friendly and amicable for the sake of children after a divorce. Parties with a prenup have little detriment to being honest with their finances since “hiding” assets or debts isn’t necessary with a prenup in place. The incentive is for a couple to stay married because they want to do so, not because of the financial devastation usually associated with a divorce. Having an experienced attorney draft the prenuptial agreement and having it reviewed by the other party’s attorney is one of the best ways to put your marriage, domestic partnership or cohabitation agreement on the right course, right from the beginning. Having a lawyer review a document outlining your financial future together is a good way to make sure that the agreement can be enforced in Court or help the parties avoid going to Court in the first place! While dinner by candlelight and decadent chocolates may set your heart aglow, knowing where the funds to pay for those loving gifts came from frees up your mind to think about the sexier side of Valentine’s Day. Hillary & Brian SteinbergHillary and Brian Steinberg of Steinberg Law Group are recently married (with a prenup)! Brian is the President and Hillary is VP of Relationship Marketing of the local law firm with emphasis on Family Law. They can be reached at (702) 384-9664 or at Hillary@SteinbergLawGroup.com
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