Who Needs a Prenuptial Agreement?

Very often couples planning marriage face a moment when one asks the other, “Will you sign a prenuptial agreement?”

The decision to ask for a prenuptial agreement is based on the very real possibility that the marriage may flounder. In a way, a prenup, as it is called, is often referred to as a  prearranged divorce. Some people might think of it as parachute that you hope they never use. A prenuptial agreement, according to Black’s Law Dictionary, is one “entered into by the prospective spouses prior to marriage by in consideration thereof, by it, the property and other financial rights of one or both …predetermined or secured to one or both of them or their children.”

A prenuptial agreement can be very important when a couple spins that roulette wheel of romance a second and/or a third time, when both the husband to be and the wife to be each have accumulated assets they wish to convey to adult children.

A prenup is a contract between two people — a husband and wife – by which, with reasonable limitations, they establish in advance the terms and conditions of their divorce. Without a prenup, the court divides contested property by the laws of the jurisdiction. With a prenup, the couple can in advance decide who gets what.

The prenup documents each partner’s separate property and protects it as such. Prenups are used in support of estate plans. They distinguish between marital and separate property, and document any special arrangements between the partners.

However, the prenuptial agreement must deal with financial affairs, not “personal preferences,” such as chores or schools that the children attend.

Of course, some people balk at the thought of a prenup, after all, does not love last forever even when 60 percent of second marriages capsize?

Obvious it does not.

Many family law lawyers recommend a prenuptial agreement if a party owns real estate or any part of a business, has $50,000 in assets, earns more than $100,000 a year, has more than one year’s worth of retirement benefits. A prenup should also be considered if one party plans to go on for an advanced degree.


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