Prenuptial Lawyer in Albuquerque
A prenuptial agreement is a legal written contract that protects the interest of both parties by settling the terms of separation before your union is even certified by the state.
Every marriage has a form of “default” prenuptial agreement. If you decide to move forward without a prenup, your state has a marriage and separation accord to which your union will be subject. This can lead to complications later, especially if you have considerable assets to protect. Because New Mexico is a community property state, nearly all property acquired during the marriage is considered joint property, and you have little control over what happens to the said property once your divorce reaches a court of law. Steer clear of future troubles by preparing your terms of separation now.
Common knowledge once said that roughly half of all marriages end in divorce, but thankfully that number has declined in the last few years. Now, just over 40% of marriages end in divorce, which is still a high percentage.
At New Mexico Financial & Family Law, we want to change your perspective of the word ‘prenup’ by helping you feel prepared and confident in the security of your personal assets. This kind of agreement benefits both parties by allowing you both the opportunity to include personal asset protection. It also clarifies the terms of separation so that no one is left uninformed and unprepared. We offer confidential, no-obligation consultations. Call (505) 503-1637 or contact us online today to schedule an appointment with one of New Mexico’s most trusted family law firms.
The Difference Between a Prenuptial Agreement and Postnuptial Agreement in Albuquerque
While our society tends to think of marriage as a romantic endeavor, it is also a legal contract. Entering into a marriage automatically entwines the couple’s finances, legal standings, and other major aspects of their life.
A prenuptial agreement is signed before the marriage. It is designed to work as a modification of or addendum to a traditional marriage contract. The agreement may set aside specific pieces of property outside the communal property boundary, for example, or it may stipulate that certain things may happen in the event of a divorce.
A postnuptial agreement is signed after the marriage has been legally recognized. It can have similar provisions to a prenuptial agreement. However, because a postnuptial agreement seeks to make retroactive changes to a marriage, it can be more difficult to enforce. Further, once community property has been intermingled, it can be difficult to establish that a specific holding or piece of property should lie outside the marriage. For these reasons, anyone entering into a marriage should carefully consider the value a prenuptial agreement might bring, since those agreements are easier to draft and enforce relative to a postnuptial arrangement.
In either case, working with an experienced prenuptial lawyer in Albuquerque is highly advisable. An attorney can help you make a full and honest accounting of your assets, and they can help you avoid common mistakes and pitfalls that can end up causing a prenuptial agreement to be declared invalid by a court.
Why Prenups Can Be a Good Idea
Signing a prenuptial agreement before your Albuquerque marriage or a postnuptial agreement afterward can be a way to remove uncertainty should the marriage happen to end in divorce. While no one wants to think about this option, the truth is that not preparing for it in advance can make both people in a couple dissatisfied with the results of a divorce.
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements add a degree of certainty and confidence among both parties. They clearly spell out what property is considered separate, and what arrangements may occur in the event of a dissolution of marriage.
For those getting married in Albuquerque or New Mexico, there are many important factors to consider regarding prenuptial and postnuptial laws. Consulting with a prenuptial attorney in Albuquerque is the best way to ensure you have accurate expectations. It also ensures that your agreements have a high chance of being enforceable in court.
Your Agreement Contains Various Issues That Would Come Up in Divorce Court
Each prenuptial agreement will be unique and contain information sensitive to the couple, but there are general guidelines that outline the contents of your agreement.
Most commonly, a prenuptial agreement confirms each spouse’s rights to property owned separately or together. It can also include a wide variety of other information that determines the outcome of your property if you decide to end your marriage.
Your “prenup” can determine how assets are distributed in the event of death or divorce, each spouse’s right to buy, sell, or lease property while married, and the specifics of alimony payments. If you don’t have a prenuptial agreement, including a section on alimony payments, your union will be subject to the set procedures determined by the state. Additionally, your prenup can contain just about any agreement you and your spouse decide on concerning your union, but there are some limitations.
What Can’t Go in a Prenup?
It is important that your prenup only contains essential information that is legally allowed. An illegitimate clause can cause a judge to throw out your entire agreement because the language within the documentation may be considered invalid.
When planning the contents of your prenup, avoid considering topics like child care and personal preferences (whose last name to use, who has what duties in the relationship, etc.). A prenuptial agreement is a financial accord, not documentation of your preferences for married life. Additionally, any clauses about child care won’t be considered valid since the circumstances of how many children will be sired (if any) cannot reasonably be predicted.
Forming Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can be an excellent idea when entering a marriage or trying to protect certain aspects of an existing marriage. While both agreements may have a sense of stigma attached to them, the reality is that they can prevent contention should the marriage be dissolved (end in divorce) or if a spouse should die or become incapacitated.
If you’re trying to decide whether or not to create a New Mexico prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, you’ll need to understand what these types of contracts can and can not do for you. For instance, a prenuptial agreement can define who gets what in case of divorce, but it cannot speak to future child custody rights. It is very important that your agreement contains only what is legally allowable; legally inappropriate or illegal clauses could cause a judge to reject your entire agreement.
Rules for Signing a Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreement in Albuquerque
There are many requirements and restrictions for prenuptial and postnuptial agreements that are unique to the state of New Mexico.
● No agreement can cause a spouse to give up rights pertaining to child support, spousal support
● Agreements must be signed well in advance of the wedding, so there is not the appearance of coercion or undue influence
● Each member of the future couple has the right to have their own attorney, who can represent them when negotiating the contract and interpreting its language
● The prenuptial or postnuptial contract must be accompanied by a full, good faith disclosure of all known property and debts
Failing to satisfy these conditions can cause a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement to be invalidated. Be sure to have the terms of your agreement reviewed by a legal expert, such as an experienced postnuptial lawyer in Albuquerque.
Why Would a Prenup Benefit Me?
There are several common situations where it makes a great deal of sense to consider forming a prenuptial agreement.
You Are Entering the Marriage With Substantially More Assets or Income
While protections are afforded to spouses who become divorced quickly after marriage, there is still the risk that certain types of property could automatically become community property. This risk is especially high for individuals with significant contributions to stock portfolios, retirement accounts, or other financial instruments. They may also be coming into the marriage with one or more properties, or their earning potential may be significantly high based on their career in a high-earning field.
Any time a spouse brings substantial assets into a marriage, they have an incentive to protect what they already had. They may also wish to carve out exemptions to community property based on the appreciation of certain assets. In these cases, a prenuptial agreement can potentially make a large difference in the event of a future divorce.
You Own a Business
Closely held businesses can become community property any time the business grows in value during marriage and/or when a spouse contributes greatly to the continuity of the business. Know, too, that not paying yourself a competitive salary can be considered as taking money out of the household finances to reinvest in the business! In other words, keeping a business considered a separate entity from the household’s finances can be easier if a prenuptial agreement is signed.
You Have Children, Grandchildren, or Other Loved Ones You Want Cared For
A prenuptial agreement can set aside certain assets or financial instruments for the purposes of establishing a care fund for any children or grandchildren that came from a different relationship. Such an arrangement can also stand to benefit the care of older relatives, including parents, aunts/uncles, and grandparents.
You Have Other Concerns About Financial or Legal Boundaries
While there are hard and fast limits to what a prenup or postnup can do, they are also incredibly flexible. It is advisable to voice any and all concerns you have to a legal professional in order to ensure that you are protected from certain scenarios when entering into a marriage.
Create a Prenuptial Agreement That’s a Lasting Bond
Marriages are sacred, but so are individual rights. Forming a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can be pivotal to the health of a relationship by establishing firm boundaries while providing certainty should a scenario like a divorce come to fruition.
Speak with the knowledgeable Albuquerque prenuptial agreement lawyers at New Mexico Financial & Family Law to create a prenup or postnup that gives you confidence for the years ahead. Schedule your confidential, no-obligation case review now when you call (505) 503-1637 or contact us online.