Most people recognize a prenuptial or prenup agreement as a form of protection if a marriage does not work out. But sometimes, people do not know what actually happens to the agreement after a couple calls it quits. What role does a prenup play during divorce proceedings?
A prenup lays down property division terms
On top of the asset protection it offers, a prenup agreement can expedite the property division process in a divorce since the spouses have already agreed on the terms. During property division, the court would have to determine the separate and marital properties of the spouses, which can take a long time. A prenup listing down each spouse’s separate property can speed up the proceedings.
It also clarifies liabilities
Usually, a prenup includes not only assets but also liabilities. Debts each spouse acquires before entering the marriage are their sole responsibility.
Some prenups waive spousal support
It is not always the case, but some couples include a waiver of spousal support in their prenup agreement. However, the courts will not always take this waiver fully as it is. They will merely consider the same while also considering the current situation of each spouse, such as their current earning capacity and if there are children involved. This is because the spouses could be in a lesser financial position than when they made the waiver and would require adjusted terms.
Of course, the court will only consider the prenup agreement if it is valid. So, the document must comply with South Carolina’s rules on prenuptial agreements. It is also possible that the prenup is valid, but a certain provision is not binding. For instance, spouses cannot include child custody arrangements in the prenup.
Understanding prenups and how courts enforce them can help you establish and protect your property and financial rights during the divorce. You have, of course, the responsibility to ensure that it complies with federal and state laws.