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Advantages of a prenuptial agreement

Some couples getting married in Hawaii assume they do not need a prenuptial agreement because they are not wealthy. However, there are other reasons partners may want to sign a prenup. For example, people who have children from a previous marriage may want a prenup to protect their assets for those children.

Marriage does not necessarily mean mingling all assets. For example, property that a partner brings into marriage or inheritances they receive during the marriage are usually considered separate property. However, this gets more complicated if the property is mingled with marital resources. An example of this might be a home that one person owns at the time of the marriage. Using income earned during the marriage, which may be joint property, to pay the mortgage could result in a court classifying the home as joint property. An inheritance might be considered joint property if it is deposited into a shared account or used to upgrade joint property, such as a home owned by both individuals.

A prenup could specifically address potential issues. For example, it could say that the value a home acquired during marriage belongs to one person regardless of where the funds that increased the value came from. One person might also waive the right to request alimony. An attorney could assist in preparing a prenup.

Ideally, a prenup will make the property division process relatively easy. However, if the prenup is prepared incorrectly, it could be vulnerable to challenge. A judge might look at whether both parties had sufficient legal counsel and whether one partner may have been coerced into signing it. Even if a couple doesn't have a prenup, they could still reach a mutual agreement regarding property division instead of going to court. A family law attorney could help a client throughout the divorce process.

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Coates Frey Tanimoto & Gibson, AAL, LLLC
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