There is a common belief that premarital agreements are just for wealthy people – it is not true. Whether you’re living from paycheck to paycheck or managing multimillion assets, creating a legally binding contract that protects your already existing funds and real estate is an excellent planning tool for your worry-free marriage and financial stability.
1. To protect assets acquired before marriage
Contrary to popular opinion, not only assets acquired during the marriage would be divided 50/50 between spouses. A property that once was separate can become marital under certain circumstances and by certain actions of the parties. This can happen when you decide, for example, to renovate your apartment that was purchased before marriage. The renovation will require significant funds from your now shared budget, and although this property used to be your own asset, the money you both invest in it created an additional value and therefore transformed it into a shared asset. In case of the divorce your spouse will be able to claim his or her rights for this property, maybe not in 50/50 proportion, but for quite a significant portion.
2. To keep finances separate
All the property acquired during marriage automatically becomes part of the marital estate and is considered assets of both parties. Some people register their new property as assets of their immediate relatives, parents, or children from prior relationships, to avoid sharing them in case of divorce. This is a dangerous strategy that in the long term may cost you a lot of money and numerous lawsuits. People often oversee the possibility of their parents who now have rights for their property separating and marrying again. In this case, their new husband or wife will own half of what was yours. When you assign your child as the owner of the property, you might not get custody in case of divorce, and therefore, your spouse will acquire your property through your child.
Life is unpredictable, having a well-crafted legal agreement on how spouses deal with their acquired assets after marriage helps to avoid stressful situations and money spent on lawsuits and lawyers.
3. To provide for children from previous relationships
If you have children from your previous relationships or marriages it might be a good idea to have a prenup before remarrying to avoid disputes and fights over your personal items in case your marriage fails or you die. Without a prenup, it’s easy for your spouse to leave your children with nothing.
4. To “facilitate” surrogacy
Unfortunately, some single men willing to become parents through surrogacy choose to marry a surrogate who would carry their baby to avoid establishing their fatherhood through the court. According to the law, a husband of the surrogate is automatically registered as the father of the child unless otherwise is proved at the court. We strongly suggest against it as it would give the surrogate too many rights over your child. But in case you firmly decided to do that, having a detailed prenup agreement is, of course, a must, though the best possible option would be to get a Russian birth certificate without surrogate’s name on it through a court decision.
Please understand that no prenup agreement might decide the custody of the resulting child. Should there be any problem or conflict with the surrogate, the future of your child should be decided by the court, not prenup agreement. And should the surrogate succeed to keep the custody, an alimony should be paid by the unfortunate father who hasn’t heard this piece of advice.