Prenuptial Agreements and LGBT Couples
LGBT Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer
Since the landmark decision in 2015 by the United States Supreme Court to strike down same-sex marriage bans and allow members of the LGBT community to marry, record numbers of lesbian and gay couples have been entering the world of legal matrimony. However, same-sex marriage comes with the same caveats as any marriage, and that means that LGBT divorce is also a part of our reality. While LGBT couples have been in relationships, often committed and living together, for quite a long time, the legal landscape of divorce is something very new to many of them. Since the law recognizes any marriage, same-sex or otherwise, to be equal, this means the laws in Arkansas governing prenuptial agreements also apply – and this can be a valuable step for an LGBT couple to take before getting married. In this guide, we’ll provide Arkansas LGBT prenup lawyer insights on how a prenup can help you.
Prenuptial agreements are not new things, and they have long had a reputation for being, well, not very romantic. However, today in the age of frequent divorce, many couples, including LGBT couples, see getting a prenup as a practical step that they take together, with the help of an LGBT prenup attorney, to ensure that they are protected no matter what.
In fact, as LGBT prenuptial agreement attorneys, we believe there is a good reason that prenups are especially important for same-sex couples who are marrying. Simply put, most of the time these couples have been living together for some time before the marriage, but in the eyes of the law, only assets and property obtained after the wedding day are the property of both spouses. The only way for the property and assets you gained as a couple in the months, years, or even decades of your relationship prior to marriage to be considered both of your property, you’ll have to say so in a prenup.
What is an LGBT Prenup in Arkansas? Tips from an LGBT Prenup Lawyer
You may know the broad-strokes version of what a prenup is: it’s a device used by shady, usually rich, men who marry younger women in order to ensure that they don’t make off with their wealth by divorcing them down the line. However, a prenuptial agreement isn’t just a television drama plot device, and it is not only used by rich people to protect their wealth (though it certainly is used for that).
A prenuptial agreement is a contract drawn up, along with the help of an LGBT prenup attorney, between a couple that is planning to get married. It is done before marriage – hence the “pre” – and cannot be done after the wedding day. In their prenup, couples work with their LGBT prenup attorney to spell out exactly how they would like their property to be divided in the event of a divorce. This includes the division of property and alimony agreements. It is not a document, as the television dramas show, where one partner prevents the other from taking anything.
It is a document in which both spouses work together to ensure that neither is left out in the cold should the unthinkable occur. LGBT prenup agreement attorneys work closely with couples to come to an amicable and beneficial agreement between both parties. After all, if you have been together for years, you deserve to have the property and assets you gained together considered property obtained as a couple, not as individuals. Left up to the legal system alone, the division of property can be very inequitable to LGBT couples.
If your partner is suggesting a prenup, you may be getting nervous, but any LGBT prenup lawyer can tell you that there is no need to be scared – be involved. Your prenup should be a collaborative effort between you and your partner so that you can come up with a plan that everyone is happy with. Often, they are written to benefit a partner who is less privileged, so if that is your situation, you likely have nothing to fear.
Who Should Work with an Arkansas LGBT Prenup Lawyer?
In the past, and on television dramas, only wealthy individuals tend to get prenups. These are people with considerable assets which they’d like to protect. Today, however, lots of people are getting prenups for many different reasons, and LGBT prenuptial agreement lawyers have helped many such couples draw up their own since marriage was legalized for same-sex couples.
Some of the typical reasons for obtaining a prenup with the help of an LGBT prenup attorney include:
- A desire to protect property owned before the wedding day
- Protecting the inheritance of children from previous relationships
- Protecting business interests in place before the marriage
- Ensuring that property is divided equitably or to the benefit of a less privileged partner
- Setting up provisions for alimony payments
What Are the Issues My LGBT Prenup Lawyer Will Include in Our Prenuptial Agreement in Arkansas?
Most often, LGBT prenuptial agreement lawyers primarily focus on the areas division of property and assets, division of debts, and alimony payments. Many couples, especially LGBT couples, find it beneficial to determine ahead of time how all property, including that property obtained before the date of the marriage, will be divided between them should a divorce occur. LGBT prenup agreement attorneys can work to ensure that should you divorce – which certainly no one hopes for – that the division of property and other such concerns do not make that process more painful and stressful than it already is. Working with an LGBT prenup lawyer can help minimize fighting should the marriage end, and help both partners to simply move on with their lives.
In addition to dividing property, many LGBT couples work with LGBT prenuptial agreement lawyers to determine the payment of alimony after a divorce. Legally, in the state of Arkansas, the amount of alimony paid is determined by the court based upon the length of the marriage. Since same-sex marriages have only been legal since 2015, this means that there is no same-sex marriage in the state of Arkansas of a duration beyond a few years, and if alimony is decided by the court, it may not be sufficient. An LGBT prenup attorney can help to ensure that alimony payments are fair, and consider the entire relationship, rather than just the period during which you were married.
Can My LGBT Prenup Lawyer Include Child Custody and Child Support in My Arkansas Prenuptial Agreement?
Unfortunately not. In the state of Arkansas, prenups are not allowed to determine child support or child custody payments. These questions are always decided by the court at the time of the divorce. A judge will assess the custody arrangement that is in the best interest of the child. In addition, courts determine child support payment amounts based on several factors, including the needs of the child and the financial situation of each parent or stepparent when the divorce occurs.
If the spouses wish to come to an agreement between themselves on custody and child support, then they may do so when they divorce, but their decision is subject to approval by the court. Your LGBT prenup lawyer can tell you more about child custody and child support for LGBT couples in Arkansas.
What is Required for the Prenup Drawn Up by My LGBT Prenup Lawyer in Arkansas to Be Enforceable?
Arkansas, along with many other states, uses the UPAA, or Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act. This is a set of rules which determines what needs to be in a prenup for it to be enforceable. Your LGBT prenup lawyer will work to ensure that your agreement satisfies these conditions.
LGBT prenup agreement attorneys know that in order to be enforceable in the state of Arkansas under the UPAA, any prenuptial agreement has to be first and foremost in writing. Both spouses need to sign the document, it must be signed before the wedding day, and the agreement will only be enforceable after you are married.
LGBT prenup attorneys will work to make sure that your document is legal and enforceable. Arkansas courts will refuse to enforce a prenuptial agreement if any of these factors are present:
- If one spouse did not voluntarily sign the agreement
- The prenuptial agreement was severely unfair, or unconscionable, at the time it was signed (Especially if not signed in the presence of an LGBT prenuptial agreement lawyer)
- Once spouse was not truthful about debts or assets
- If one spouse needs to receive public assistance due to a lack of alimony payments, a judge may require the other spouse to pay alimony
Courts make the decision as to whether a prenuptial agreement is unconscionable on a case-by-case basis, and only rarely find them to be unenforceable. In general, an agreement that would force one spouse to receive public assistance, or in which there is clear evidence of fraud, would be cases where such a ruling would be rendered. However, by working closely with an LGBT prenup lawyer in Arkansas, you can make sure this does not happen to you.
Arkansas state law does not require spouses to consult with a LGBT prenuptial agreement lawyer before they sign a prenup, but we certainly recommend it. In addition to ensuring that the document is fair for both sides and enforceable, judges can take the presence of an LGBT prenup lawyer into account should they need to consider whether an agreement is fair.
Consult with an LGBT Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer in Arkansas Today
If you have more questions about prenuptial agreements, a division of property, alimony, or child support, contact an LGBT prenuptial agreement lawyer today.