Prenuptial Agreements Are Not The Latest Engagement Ring Fad, But Maybe They Should Be
Suffice it to say that, as the nature of marriage and divorce has changed over the past several decades, so has the nature of prenuptial agreements. Divorce rates increased sharply with the advent of no fault divorce laws, but as an increasing number of women remained in the workforce throughout their marriages, the courts became less likely to award alimony, and when they did award it, it tended to be of short duration. Now the divorce rate is declining, but so is the marriage rate, even though legal marriage has also become an option for same sex couples. Today, people do not take lightly the decision to get married, and they understand that being on the same page about finances is important, even as no one’s financial situation is simple. Likewise, in the old days, prenuptial agreements were only for geriatric cynics and their trophy wives, but the new generation has found a whole new set of uses for prenups. Two law professors recommend a new one, namely a prenuptial agreement provision that indicates ownership rights of the engagement ring in the event that the couple breaks up without marrying. If you have recently gotten engaged and don’t know where to begin regarding prenuptial agreements, contact a Boca Raton prenuptial and postnuptial agreement lawyer.
First Pet Nups, Then Debt Nups, Now Rock Nups
Engaged couples who sign prenuptial agreements can agree to almost any provision regarding the parties’ income, assets, and debts. You cannot, however, stipulate anything about your future children in a prenup. It’s great to talk to your fiancé about your plans for parenthood, but once a child is born, the child has his or her own legal rights; court-ordered parenting plans and child support are about the children’s best interests, even if they are not to the complete satisfaction of either parent.
Far from simply being a way to help men whose net worth exceeds their commendable personal qualities to protect their stash of money from gold diggers, today’s couples have started using prenups to resolve other conflicts related to marital property. For example, the court will not issue a parenting plan for a pet, but since domestic animals count as property, you can sign a prenup indicating who gets to keep your pets if you divorce. Likewise, many recently married couples owe tens of thousands of dollars in debt or more, and they sign prenups holding each other harmless for some or all of their respective debts. Some Orthodox Jewish couples even sign “Halachic prenups,” where the husband promises not to withhold the Get (the religious divorce document) if the couple gets a divorce in civil court.
If a couple gets divorced, it stands to reason that the engagement ring is the separate property of the spouse who wore it during the marriage, as it was an interspousal gift. What about broken engagements, though? The law is less clear on this matter. Naomi Cahn and Julia Mahoney of the University of Virginia advise engaged couples to specify in their prenup which person gets to keep the ring if the couple separates without marrying.
Contact Schwartz | White About Prenuptial Agreements That Prepare for the Worst-Case Scenario
A South Florida family law attorney can help you draft a prenuptial agreement that addresses every possible scenario, even a broken engagement. Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.