Prenuptial Agreements in Utah

by Norris Law Group on February 7, 2014

prenup_cropIt’s the exciting time in your life –you are about to get married. You have the rings, cake, and venue all picked out. The last thing on your mind is that this marriage is not going to last. Not all marriages end in divorce, but the divorce rate in this country is on a rise. According to the Center for Disease Control, National Survey of Family Growth, almost 50% of marriages end in divorce. The likelihood of divorce is greater for those getting married in the 20-24 age group.

One thing you might want to consider while making the wedding plans is a prenuptial agreement. This is an agreement, made prior to marriage, for the protection of both individuals in case of a divorce or death of the spouse. Some of the most common reasons for entering into a prenuptial agreement are to protect: one spouse from the other’s debts, family heirlooms, future inheritances, or children from a previous relationship. The main purpose of a prenuptial agreement is to distinguish the difference between separate and marital property. For example, if one individual has accrued a large amount of student loans prior to the marriage, a prenuptial agreement can make sure that this debt does not get placed on the other individual to repay once the marriage is over.

There are things that cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement. Many of these prohibitions are things that should be left in the hands of the court, including: child custody, child support, alimony, and actually encouraging divorce. Other things are simple personal rules such as: where to spend the holidays, how to raise children, and which relatives the children will have a relationship with. Prenuptial agreements are strictly for financial matters not personal matters.

Granted, a prenuptial agreement is not for everyone. Whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you is a personal question. At such an early stage of your new life together, it is difficult to write a document that will encompass all the issues you want settled. Starting off your marital life with a contract about finances and property can put a dimmer on the “honeymoon effect” of a new marriage. If finances and future property are not things you are comfortable speaking with your significant other about, then don’t.

Timing is another thing to consider. If there is not enough time prior to your wedding to talk over these things, then a prenuptial agreement will not work in your case. A prenuptial agreement must be written and signed prior to the marriage. Signing it right before the ceremony might not be enough. Courts may not recognize prenuptial agreements signed this way.

Whether or not you choose to enter into a prenuptial agreement should be a mutual decision. Forcing or coercing your significant other into signing the agreement can cause it to be invalidated. If you do not form a prenuptial agreement, many topics would be covered in a divorce if applicable to your situation. It is not a mandatory agreement. It is simply something to consider and discuss with your future spouse.

Attorney Graham Norris and his associates at the Norris Law Group serve the residents of Utah County and throughout Utah in the area of family law. Contact them today at 801-932-1238 or online for a free consultation.

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