Helping York, Lancaster, and Chester County clients protect their futures
Getting married is exciting; talking about your finances isn't. Planning for the day when you may no longer be together isn't typically what you want to think about as you start planning your lives together. “Prenups” and “postnups” may not be romantic, but they are critical tools when it comes to securing your financial future and interests.
It's prudent to have contingencies in place, and it's useful to have the advice of an experienced divorce attorney to guide you. With my financial background at your disposal, you can rest assured that your prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are crafted with an eye towards the future. To learn more about why a premarital or postmarital agreement is the right choice, call Holland Law to reserve a consultation at my Fort Mill or Rock Hill office.
Agreements providing financial protection for Rock Hill and Fort Mill couples
Premarital and postmarital agreements are simply contracts designed to ensure that your wishes are met in the event of your death, or if your marriage ends in divorce. Rather than looking at these marital agreements as a means to an end, view them as financial tools that serve to protect the best interests of both you and your spouse in the event misfortune strikes.
For a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement to be valid under S.C. Code Section 20-1-960, it must be in writing, signed by both spouses, and meet other basic legal requirements, including:
- Being equitable to both spouses
- Being entered into freely and voluntarily
- Offering full disclosure of all assets
- Understanding the agreement in full
Each spouse must be advised that he or she has the right to seek independent legal counsel to protect his or her interests.
What is a premarital agreement?
Also known as prenuptial agreements, these contracts are executed prior to your marriage. They can outline the handling of virtually any issue or concern either spouse may have, including the future equitable distribution of assets, designation of alimony, division of debts, and establishment of inheritance rights.
As an experienced and certified mediator, my background serves to help couples see the benefit of working together to compromise without jeopardizing your future goals. The rule of thumb to remember in any contract negotiation is if neither side walks away completely happy, then it's probably fair. It's a sort of dry way of saying that you and your spouse were able to look past your minor concerns and see the larger picture – that you each care enough to protect your partner as much as yourself.
What is a postmarital agreement?
This agreement is executed by both spouses at any point after you have already married. It is very similar in scope to the issues handled by the premarital agreement. Many couples who request a postmarital agreement either never considered a prenuptial agreement, or believed it wasn't a necessity at the time, for any given reason. Years down the road, once each spouse has settled into his or her career or marital responsibilities, things may have changed dramatically. At this point, you may want to revisit the idea of having a postnuptial agreement drafted.
What are the advantages of a premarital or postmarital agreement in SC?
Both premarital and postmarital agreements offer several advantages for each spouse, including:
- Retaining control over your financial picture. Without a prenuptial agreement, a judge will be deciding what happens to your property. If your estate goes through the probate process without prior protection for your spouse or children, you risk those assets being distributed in a manner inconsistent with your wishes.
- Preserving an inheritance or trust fund. If you know that you stand to inherit a significant asset or sum from your family, and want to ensure that you have full benefit of that throughout your lifetime, a marital agreement can establish that right so that you don't place yourself at risk of losing it in a divorce.
- Keeping a family business intact. If a family business becomes the subject of equitable distribution in a divorce, it complicates matters tenfold. Suddenly you have to go through appraisals and business valuations to determine what your spouse will be entitled to receive. If the numbers don't pan out, you could be forced to sell the business – or at least your share.
- Maintaining your lifestyle. If you go through divorce, your property will be subject to the process of equitable distribution. A pre- or postmarital agreement can cut out the guess work of what you will receive.
- Avoiding responsibility for a spouse's debts. Has your spouse been a frivolous spender? Does he or she owe a significant amount in student loans? Is one of you upside down in a piece of real estate? If you were restrained and responsible with your finances during your marriage, you shouldn't have to be saddled with your spouse's high debt. You can insulate yourself and your spouse from one another's debts if the time comes to part ways.
The process of negotiating either type of agreement can encourage communication about uncomfortable subjects long before they ever become larger issues in your marriage. For couples with significant assets or holdings, or with children from previous marriages, these agreements are a critical part of any strong estate plan.
While these agreements have a lot of benefits, they cannot address the future disposition of any child custody or child support issues. Those still have to be resolved through a separate amicable agreement, or by litigating the issue through the family court. No agreement as to your children's care and support will be enforceable without an order being issued by the family court.
Is there a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement attorney near me?
Yes. You can find Holland Law in Fort Mill, SC at 852 Gold Hill Road, off Pleasant Road and close to Route 77. We also have offices in Rock Hill at 128 Oakland Avenue, near Route 122. We invite you to contact us today.
Legal guidance in Fort Mill and Rock Hill designed to prevent future conflicts
If you are a resident of York, Lancaster, or Chester County, contact Holland Law today to receive a comprehensive understanding of how these contracts can help you plan for a better future. I'm available for consultation in either my Fort Mill office on Gold Hill Road, or in my Rock Hill office on Oakland Avenue by calling 803-219-2630, by filling out my contact form.