LGBT+ and Prenuptial Agreements: Protecting You and Your Marriage
The legalization of same-sex marriage gave all people the legal right to marry and be recognized as married in the United States.
But while most people emphasize the benefits of marriage, many overlook the potential risks involved when a marriage doesn’t work out.
Prenuptial agreements have long been used to protect married partners when the marriage is dissolved. They outline the terms related to divorce and dictate how personal and marital property will be divided.
LGBT+ couples need to understand the risk of divorce and the ways in which a prenuptial agreement can protect their interests and prevent costly legal battles.
Do LGBT+ Couples Need a Prenuptial Agreement?
Although most people are reluctant to consider the possibility of divorce, approximately 40 percent of first marriages end in divorce. The number of divorces among second and third marriages can be higher.
It’s impossible to predict how a marriage will turn out, making it even more important to have an agreement in place that protects you and your spouse. Couples that have substantial assets have an even greater need for a prenuptial agreement.
If you or your partner have children, a prenuptial agreement can protect any assets that have been set aside to be allocated to loved ones in the future.
Your prenuptial agreement can outline terms related to the division of assets, the distribution of alimony and child support, and other important factors.
A prenuptial agreement establishes transparency needed to address outstanding debts and other financial concerns.
Prenuptial Agreements for LGBT+
The sooner you agree on both parties’ expectations, the easier it is to draft an agreement that protects you and your spouse.
Having a conversation about potential risks can establish greater trust and security when you establish each person’s expectations, needs, and preferences.
A family law attorney can help you and your partner draft a prenuptial agreement that keeps your individual goals in mind. Many variables can be included in a prenuptial agreement, so determining your needs is critical to the process.
Identifying your community and separate property, financial responsibilities, and property ownership are some of the factors to consider first.
Who will be responsible for debts? Should you divorce, how will property be divided, who will gain retain ownership of your primary residence, and how will alimony or child support be addressed?
Protecting Your Marriage
A prenuptial agreement must be put in place before you and your partner are married. Post-nuptial agreements can also be established after a marriage. But the sooner you have an agreement in place, the more likely you are to avoid any issues.
Both parties must execute the agreement in writing in the presence of a notary public. In order for a prenuptial agreement to be valid, you and your partner must voluntarily enter the agreement with full and fair disclosure.
Family law courts may refuse to enforce prenuptial agreements made just before the date of marriage. So you should prepare a prenuptial agreement 6 to 12 months in advance whenever possible.
You’ll need to gather itemized financial statements and other documents related to retirement and investment accounts, real estate, and other aspects of your personal finances.
The terms that can be enforced in the state of Georgia may not be enforced in other parts of the United States. Consulting with a family law attorney can ensure that your agreement remains valid throughout its lifetime.
Your attorney can help you determine what information you need to gather and include as part of your prenuptial agreement.
LGBT+ couples can protect their personal assets and the wellbeing of their families through a prenuptial agreement.
Understanding what to consider when drafting your agreement and making sure its valid and enforceable can give you and your spouse the peace of mind you need as you move forward in growing your partnership.