In recent years, prenuptial agreements have largely overcome their past reputation as a red flag for couples who are about to wed. More savvy than cynical, many of today’s couples recognize prenuptial agreements as an effective way to prevent future conflicts and miscommunications by addressing potential pitfalls head on. In many cases, couples even report that the process of creating a prenuptial agreement actually helps strengthen their relationship and commitment to one another by helping them to identify and resolve points of potential conflict long before the issues ever arose.
A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people who intend to marry, which establishes what their property rights will be in regard to one another if they should ever divorce. The agreement goes into effect only in the event that the marriage ends.
Contrary to popular misconception, prenuptial agreements are not only for the rich and famous, but in fact may benefit couples in all different walks of life. Many people are also unaware that, depending on how it is designed, a prenuptial agreement can be beneficial to both spouses – not just one.
When deciding whether a prenuptial agreement is right for them, there are several factors for couples to consider:
· Age: Generally speaking, spouses who are older at the time of marriage are more likely to need a prenuptial agreement.
· Existing children: If either or both spouses have children from a previous relationship, a prenuptial agreement can be an important way of protecting the interests of those children after a parent remarries.
· Assets: A prenuptial agreement is often advisable in marriages in which either partner owns or expects to acquire substantial assets.
· Income disparities: When the spouses differ significantly from one another in terms of their assets or income potential, it is typically wise to create a prenuptial agreement.
A prenuptial agreement can address a wide variety of issues regarding how the couples will divide shared property in the event of divorce. Not only can a prenuptial agreement protect the spouses’ assets, but it can also prevent them from having to assume one other’s debts if the marriage should end. In the event of divorce, having these issues sorted out in advance can save couples a great deal of time, money and emotional turmoil by preventing lengthy court battles over the property division process.
When creating a prenuptial agreement, it is wise for each spouse to have his or her own lawyer to ensure that the agreement fully serves the needs and interests of both spouses. Having separate lawyers also helps ensure that the agreement will be legally enforceable in the event of divorce because it reduces the likelihood that the agreement will be invalidated due to the appearance of conflicts of interest or undue influence.
To learn more about creating a prenuptial agreement in Pennsylvania and to discuss whether a prenuptial agreement might be right for you, contact an experienced attorney in your area.