Certain couples anticipating marriage seek to enter into an agreement prior to the marriage in order to provide for future events such as death or divorce. A pre-nuptial agreement can address these concerns. We strive to assist the client in dealing with this sensitive issue in a manner which is respectful of both parties’ intentions, while protecting the interests of our individual client. It is advisable to start this process well before your wedding date. We suggest you contact us immediately if you are considering such an agreement.
A prenuptial agreement, antenuptial agreement, or premarital agreement, commonly abbreviated to prenup or prenupt, is a contract entered into prior to marriage, civil union or any other agreement prior to the main agreement by the people intending to marry or contract with each other.
A prenuptial agreement … is a contract entered into prior to marriage … and commonly includes provisions for division of property and spousal support in the event of divorce or death
The content of a prenuptial agreement can vary widely, but commonly includes provisions for division of property and spousal support in the event of divorce or death. Prenupts are commonly seen in cases where it is a second marriage, a marriage involving older adults where there are children from a former marriage, or if there is a great disparity of marital assets.
Prenuptial agreements are, at best, a partial solution to obviating some of the risks of marital property disputes in times of divorce. They can be very powerful and limit parties’ property rights and rights related to maintenance/spousal support, formerly known as alimony. It may be impossible to set aside a properly drafted and executed prenup. A prenup can dictate not only what happens if the parties divorce, but also what happens when they die. They can act as a contract to make a will and/or eliminate all your rights to property, probate homestead, probate allowance, right to take as a predetermined heir, and the right to act as an executor and administrator of your spouse’s estate.
In the United States, prenuptial agreements are recognized in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Likewise, in most jurisdictions, five elements are required for a valid prenuptial agreement:
Prenuptial agreements in all U.S. states are not allowed to regulate issues relating to the children of the marriage, in particular, allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. The reason behind this is that matters involving children must be decided in the children’s best interests. With respect to financial issues ancillary to divorce, prenuptial agreements are routinely upheld and enforced by courts in virtually all states. There are circumstances in which courts have refused to enforce certain portions/provisions of such agreements.