Read the transcript of this video below.
Before considering the need for a prenuptial agreement, you first must understand how courts view the property you acquire before you are married, even without a prenuptial agreement. New Mexico is a community property state, which means:
- Any property you own prior to your marriage is your separate property. In a divorce, you will be allowed to keep everything you owned prior to marriage and the court will not require you to divide this property with your spouse at the time of the divorce.
- Any property you acquire after the wedding day is considered joint or community property and, upon divorce, the court will require you to divide this property 50-50 with your spouse.
- You may also keep any property as your separate property if you inherited it or received it as a gift, even if you received the property after the date of the marriage.
A prenuptial agreement gives people the ability to document what is actually their separate property before getting married and what property they have received by inheritance or gift. It also documents their fiancé’s agreement that their separate property will never be divided as joint property.
A prenuptial agreement is most important where one or both of the spouses owns a large inheritance or a large separate property estate prior to the marriage, or if the parties have children from a prior relationship and want to keep certain separate property solely for the benefit of those children.
If you need a prenuptial agreement, it must be finalized in a written document and signed well before the wedding date. The lawyers at Little, Gilman-Tepper & Batley prefer to draft prenuptial agreements at least six weeks prior to the wedding date.
The important things to remember about prenuptial agreements are that they need to be completed in plenty of time before the wedding, there must be complete information exchanged, and each side should be represented by a lawyer.
New Mexico Family Law Attorney Jan Gilman-Tepper has been practicing family law for more than 30 years, focusing her practice in the area of divorce and business issues. The co-founder of Little Gilman-Tepper& Batley P.A. in Marquette, New Mexico, Jan is a Board Certified Family Law Specialist. In addition to litigation, she also offers alternative dispute resolution services, including collaborative law and mediation. For more information about Jan Gilman-Tepper and her firm, please visit www.lgtfamilylaw.com.