As the old saying goes, “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.” This is where prenuptial agreements (also known as prenups) come into play. A prenup is a legal document that outlines how a couple will divide their assets in the event of divorce or separation. While prenups are often associated with wealthy individuals, they can be beneficial for anyone getting married, especially in Washington State where community property laws come into play.
Washington is one of nine states in the US that follows community property laws. This means that any property acquired during the marriage is considered equally owned by both parties, with a few exceptions such as inheritance and gifts. This also means that in the event of a divorce, the court will divide the property and debt equally between the two spouses. While this may seem fair, it may not always be practical, especially if one spouse has significantly more assets than the other before marriage.
Here are some reasons why getting a prenup in Washington State might be a good idea:
1. Protect your separate property: If you have assets such as a business, a home or savings account that you acquired before marriage, a prenup can ensure that they remain solely yours in the event of a divorce.
2. Settle financial matters in advance: Prenups can establish a plan for how finances will be handled during the marriage, including who will be responsible for joint expenses and how assets will be managed.
3. Avoid lengthy court battles: If a couple without a prenup divorces in Washington, the court will typically divide the community property equally between the two parties. This can lead to lengthy court battles and legal fees. A prenup can save time, money and stress in the long run.
It`s important to note that prenups are not just about division of assets. They can also address other issues such as spousal support and even custody and visitation rights for children from previous marriages.
While prenups are not the most romantic topic to discuss, they can provide peace of mind for both parties. It`s generally recommended that couples discuss the idea of a prenup well before the wedding day to ensure that both parties have a full understanding of its purpose and implications. It`s also important for each spouse to have their own legal representation to ensure that their interests are fully protected.
In conclusion, prenuptial agreements can serve as a practical and prudent measure for protecting one`s assets and settling financial matters in advance. If you`re considering a prenup in Washington State, it`s best to consult with a lawyer experienced in family law to ensure that your document is legally binding and comprehensive.