Prenuptial agreement requirements vary from state to state. The attorneys at Thomason & Pracht, LLC., encourage anyone contemplating a prenuptial agreement to understand the requirements for such a document in South Carolina.
Anderson, SC Couples: Do You Need a Prenuptial Agreement?
South Carolina attorneys, Thomason & Pracht, LLC recommend that if you have significant assets prior to marriage, you should execute a prenuptial agreement. If you and your spouse don’t have a prenuptial agreement, and you get a divorce, your property will be divided according to state law. In Anderson, South Carolina, you could end up dividing with your spouse, property to which you believed they have no rights.
Generally, in South Carolina, any property you and your spouse acquire during your marriage is considered to be jointly-owned marital property and will be divided accordingly.
If you have a prenuptial agreement, you and your fiancé can decide for yourselves how the property will be divided, if there is a divorce. This allows you to bypass South Carolina’s state law that governs the division of property between spouses.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement and How will it Affect Me?
A Prenuptial agreement, or antenuptial agreement, is a contract you and your soon-to-be spouse execute before the wedding. The goal is to reduce litigation upon divorce by agreeing to many things that would otherwise come under the jurisdiction of the Anderson, SC Family Court. Such as:
- How to divide assets owned or intended to be acquired by either party.
- How to divide debts.
- Determine whether or not alimony might be awarded.
- Eliminate from the marital estate certain assets owned by either party.
Additionally, prenuptial agreements allow parties to plan for their property after death. If included, these provisions don’t contemplate divorce, but specifically, address the rights of your spouse after death. For example:
- You and your spouse can waive the elective share, or spousal share, In South Carolina, our Probate Code provides that a spouse is automatically entitled to one-third of their deceased spouse’s estate, regardless of what a will may say.
- You and your spouse can acknowledge that you have an estate plan and that you waive all rights pursuant to South Carolina Probate law and bind your estate and heirs based on the provisions of the agreement.
While there is no South Carolina statue specifically prescribing what is necessary for a prenuptial agreement to be valid, we know from case decisions that they should be:
- In writing, and properly witnessed upon signing.
- Each party should have their own separate attorney
- Each party should provide a written financial disclosure
You also have the right to change or modify the prenuptial agreement as long as any changes are in writing and signed by each party. If you don’t get married, neither you or your fiancé will be held to the terms of the prenuptial agreement. In order for it to take effect, you must get married.
South Carolina Child Custody, Child Support, and Prenuptial Agreements
A prenuptial agreement cannot dictate child custody and/or child support. Any decisions about custody and child support have to be reviewed by a judge and are based upon the best interest of the child(ren).
Enforcement of Prenuptial Agreements by South Carolina Courts
Unlike some other states, South Carolina hasn’t adopted the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act that contains rules and guidelines for prenuptial agreements. Instead, South Carolina prenuptial agreements are regulated by case law and statutory rules.
As mentioned above, a court will most likely enforce the prenuptial agreement if they:
- The agreement is fair
- The parties voluntarily signed the agreement
- The parties fully disclosed assets and liabilities
- The parties fully disclosed their income
- The terms in the prenuptial agreement don’t encourage divorce
What to Do If Your Fiancé Wants You to Sign A Prenuptial Agreement
If your fiancé wants you to sign a prenuptial agreement, there are a few things the Anderson, South Carolina attorneys at Thomason and Pracht want you to know:
- Don’t sign anything that you don’t fully understand, and don’t let anyone coerce you to sign a prenuptial agreement
- Hire your own South Carolina attorney with whom you feel comfortable and trust. It may not be wise to go to an attorney that your fiancé knows or recommends.
- Don’t make any decisions until your attorney reviews any and all documents including your fiancé’s financial disclosures.
Don’t be hurt or offended if your fiancé asks you to sign a prenuptial agreement. There are many good reasons to have a prenuptial agreement, and it could be beneficial to both of you in the long run.
Hiring an Anderson, SC Attorney for Your Prenuptial Agreement
A South Carolina prenuptial agreement can be confusing and somewhat difficult to navigate without help. By hiring a qualified family law attorney you will have someone on your side to advocate for you, protect you, and help you navigate prenuptial agreements.