Saying: “I do.” But not: “what’s mine is yours”

Prenuptial agreements are becoming more and more common for engaged couples. A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract that is entered between a couple prior to their marriage. The contract inventories each party’s assets and debts before entering the marriage and establishes the property rights each spouse has in the event of divorce or if one spouses dies before the other.

What’s in a prenuptial agreement?

A prenuptial agreement sets the couple’s expectations and prevents surprises at the time of divorce. Information that may be in the prenuptial agreement includes:

  • Preservation of current assets. A prenuptial agreement can address the assets owned before marriage to ensure that those assets remain with the spouse that owns them.
  • Allocation of future income and assets. The premarital agreement can specify that future income or assets not be shared in the event of the divorce.
  • Waiver or limiting of spousal support. Spousal support, also referred to as alimony, is money that one spouse pays to the other after a divorce. Spousal support can be waived or limited in a prenuptial agreement.

A prenuptial agreement cannot waive child support or address custody or visitation rights.

Who would benefit from a prenuptial agreement?

These contracts are beneficial for people with a high net worth as well as people with more modest assets-they are not just for celebrities and the extremely wealthy. You may consider a prenuptial agreement if:

  • You have money and assets that you want to protect. It does not matter if you have $100 million or $25,000 a prenuptial agreement will help protect your money and assets.
  • You expect to inherit money and assets. A prenuptial agreement will make certain that family heirlooms and money stays within the family.
  • You are marrying someone with debt. A prenuptial agreement can ensure your spouse-to-be’s debt never becomes yours.
  • You are a business owner. A prenuptial agreement can safeguard your business interest and keep the business from becoming a marital asset.
  • You have children from other marriages. A premarital agreement can designate assets to children rather than to their second spouse.

Contact an experienced Pennsylvania prenuptial agreement attorney

A prenuptial agreement is not legally enforceable unless it is created correctly. It must contain a full and fair disclosure of all assets and debts of both parties. It also must follow procedural formalities. If an agreement is not prepared correctly, it will not be enforceable at the time of divorce. If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, do it correctly and retain the help of an experienced family law attorney.

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