A pre-nuptial agreement, also known as an antenuptial agreement, is a written contract prepared before marriage that concerns the ownership of each person’s respective assets in the event unexpected circumstances occur such as divorce, separation or death. Pre-nuptial agreements can be written to include the status and category of such assets, treatment of future earnings, control of property, and the division of property in the event divorce occurs. In certain circumstances, the parties can also include provisions regarding payment or waiver of spousal support (alimony).
Couples considering pre-nuptial agreements do so for a variety of reasons. Maybe one or both parties have substantial assets they want to protect, have children from a previous relationship, have gone through a bitter divorce before, or have a substantially higher income than their spouse. Even when the aforementioned factors are not present, pre-nuptial agreements can protect each party during difficult and unexpected times. No matter what your situation may be, a pre-nuptial agreement can provide you and your new spouse with clarity in regards to what will happen with your property and finances if the two of you separate.
Pre-nuptial agreements are essentially contracts that become legally enforceable upon the marriage of the parties involved. The Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, hereafter referred to as UPAA, lays out requirements that must be met for a pre-nuptial agreement to be enforced against the other party.
- Each party must have at least seven (7) days to review the agreement
- Each party must fully disclose all financial information
- Each party should be represented by their own personal attorney, although this does not apply in every situation
A pre-nuptial agreement can include any of the following terms, provided they are not wildly unfair to one party.
- A specific amount for spousal support, or a waiver of the right to any spousal support
- The nature of specific property, for example, whether or not the property or asset will be considered a community asset, and thus subject to division upon divorce, or a separate asset, and not divisible
- A waiver of inheritance rights in the event there are children from a previous relationship
- Additional child support to pay for college
A pre-nuptial agreement cannot include any of the following terms:
- A waiver to pay/receive child support
- Any agreement regulating the custody or visitation with a child
- Any agreement that punishes the party that caused or filed for the divorce
Though making a pre-nuptial agreement may seem like you or your spouse is preparing for the end before the marriage even begins, creating a pre-nuptial agreement can provide peace of mind. Nobody can predict what life will bring, and it is best to be prepared for the unexpected. Please contact our office to assist you today.
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