The Benefits of Enforcing a Prenup

Feb 24, 2023 | Prenuptial Agreements

What does “enforcing a prenup” really mean? It simply means invoking your prenup so that you and your ex-spouse follow the terms within. You might enforce your prenup privately between the two of you, or you might need to ask a court to enforce your prenup. If your spouse is challenging the prenup in any way, you may need to ask a court to step in, evaluate the prenup, and enforce it if they find it to be valid. 

To sum it up, whether you enforce your prenup privately or with a court, it means you are complying with the terms of the contract. Make sense? Okay, good. Let’s dive into some of the benefits of enforcing a prenup.

 

Quicker divorce process

A huge benefit of enforcing a prenup is having a streamlined divorce. Generally, the divorce process consists of filing for divorce, sharing financial information, making decisions on issues, and finalizing. The making-decisions-on-issues part can take some time, especially if you two are not on the same page. This is one of the times you may clock a lot of time in your attorney’s office, on the phone with your attorney, or in the courtroom. However, if you had a prenup, it’s a different story. Many issues, like property division, debt assignment, and alimony, are predetermined in your prenup, which means less time spent in the divorce process fighting over them. 

 

Cheaper divorce process 

Along the same vein of a quicker divorce is a cheaper divorce. When you spend less time with your attorney, you save money. If you didn’t know by now, attorneys’ fees can be pretty pricey. You could be looking at anything from $200 to $1,000 per hour (or more!). One simple phone call could cost you hundreds of dollars! If you don’t have a prenup, you might spend lots of time going back and forth with your attorney on the different issues that could’ve been predetermined in a prenup. With HelloPrenup, you can get a prenup for just $599 per couple. So, would you rather spend $300 per person for a prenup or thousands more in fighting over those same issues in divorce court? 

 

Fewer surprises in the divorce

Going through a divorce comes with lots of unknowns. Who will get what property? Am I going to be responsible for my partner’s debt? Will alimony be awarded? How long will this whole process take? How much money will I spend? The list goes on and on. With a prenup, you can set in stone a few things that make the divorce outcome slightly more definitive. You can determine property ownership, alimony, debt allocation, and more. Sometimes it’s just nice to know what’s going to happen in a whirlwind full of “what-ifs.” A prenup can do just that for you.

 

Decisions on divorce matters done at a time when the relationship was good

Prenups are done before all the chaos of a divorce rears its ugly head. At a time when the love is abundant, the joy of the engagement is fresh, and the idea of divorce is nonexistent. You and your partner will decide on hard-hitting issues like property division, debt, and alimony when you aren’t emotionally running on E. This is great news because, hopefully, you both made clear-headed, fair decisions. This is opposed to not having a prenup and trying to decide on issues like alimony when you’re not so happy. 

 

Protecting your children from another relationship 

Depending on what went into your prenup, prenups provide you with an opportunity to protect your children from another relationship in a prenup. This is usually done by making sure your finances are in order, which in turn, provides for the children in one way or another. If the children are minors, then you are still their main caregiver. Losing assets in a divorce can be hard on anyone financially, but especially someone with children they’re supporting. Prenups can ensure that your assets remain intact and your children are financially supported to a satisfactory level. If you have adult children, prenups can protect them by protecting their future inheritances or gifts. If you lose a ton of money in a divorce to someone who is not their father, that is less money that will go to any future inheritance or gifts. 

 

Protecting your assets 

If you made sure to protect your assets in your prenup, then you’re going to want to hear this one. As you may already know, assets can easily be protected with a prenup by marking them as separate property, not subject to division in a divorce. On the flip side, if you mark something as marital/community property in your prenup, then it will be subject to division in a divorce. 

To reiterate: if something is separate property, it’s not divided in a divorce. If something is marital/community property, it is divided up in a divorce. What happens when you enforce your prenup as it relates to assets? Well, by enforcing your prenup, you will be ensuring that whatever assets you did protect will stay safe in the divorce. Not to mention, having your assets predetermined in the divorce lets you relax a little in knowing exactly who gets what. 

 

Protecting yourself against debt

Again, you can preestablish debt allocation in a prenup if you so choose. For example, what happens to that student loan debt that Spouse B took out years before meeting Spouse A? Or the business loans that Spouse A took out during the marriage? These questions can be answered in your prenup. There is debt that is accrued before marriage and debt that is accrued during the marriage. For either type of debt, you can mark it as either separate or shared debt. If it is separate debt, then the other person won’t be responsible for it in a divorce. If it is shared debt, then the other person may receive a portion of the debt in the divorce. Yes, even debt that their name is not on. 

Predetermining debt allocation gives you peace of mind and helps you have clear lines in the sand as to the outcome of your divorce. By enforcing your prenup, you can make sure you are only taking on the debt you agreed to in the prenup.

 

Protecting inheritances 

If you marked inheritances as separate property in your prenup, then enforcing that prenup will ensure that your PawPaw’s hard-earned cash is safe and sound in your hands. Prenups have the ability to make sure your inheritances are not subject to division in a divorce by marking them as separate property (or not). If you do not mark your inheritance as separate property, it may be considered marital/community property and be split up in a divorce. Yes, you heard that right. And no, inheritances are not automatically protected in a divorce, despite what many people mistakenly believe. 

 

Enforcing an infidelity clause 

This is a niche one, but if you have a valid infidelity clause (and not every state will uphold an infidelity clause), then enforcing your prenup may effectively give you the restitution you believe you deserve for being cheated on. Infidelity clauses (or “no-cheating” clauses) basically say, “If you cheat, you pay me $___). You and your partner typically agree on the price in the prenup. So maybe you decide on $100,000. That would mean if your spouse cheats, and you have an enforceable infidelity clause, then your cheating spouse will have to pay you $100,000. 

 

Receiving a lump sum

This is for all the stay-at-home parents or lesser-earning spouses with wealthier partners. If that’s you, then you may have written into your prenup a lump sum clause that balances out any financial inequities between you and your partner. If you are a stay-at-home parent, you probably skipped out on having a career to take care of the kids, so you wanted a way to feel supported financially, even in the event of a divorce. Enter: the lump sum clause.

The lump sum clause provides for a payment from one spouse to the other in the event of a divorce. “John shall pay Ashley $100,000 upon the divorce” (something along those lines). Enforcing your prenup triggers this clause (as long as it’s valid), and you should be receiving a hefty deposit upon divorce.

 

Better spousal communication throughout the marriage 

By having a prenup at all, you’ve already done wonders for your relationship. The prenup is just as much an emotional document as it is a legal document. It helps set up expectations for each spouse, aligns spouses on life and financial goals, and delineates clear marital roles for each person. The process of creating the prenup is also a breeding ground for deep conversations. These deep conversations should leave you and your spouse feeling like you know each other ten times better than you did before. Why? Because in the prenup process, you are required to dig deep into tough topics like divorce, death, money, children, debt, and more. These things help bring people together, contrary to popular belief. 

 

You are writing your life story. Get on the same page with a prenup. For love that lasts a lifetime, preparation is key. Safeguard your shared tomorrows, starting today.
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