When you choose to walk down the aisle with the man or woman of your dreams, everything seems like it will be perfect forever. You are happily in love, full of energy, and anxious to start a new life together. While many marriages start and end with joy, one-half of all US marriages end in divorce. That startling and sobering statistic points to the importance of pre and post nuptial agreements in a marriage.
What is a Pre-Nuptial Agreement?
While everyone has heard the term before, do they actually understand it? The simplest way to describe it is that a pre-nuptial agreement is a written agreement that spells out the specific terms of possession of assets, future earnings, control of property, and more, should the marriage someday dissolve. For many, it is a contingency plan that is put in place to guard against the worst-case scenario. While many people view pre-nuptial agreements in a negative light, they are a sound financial strategy. It is impossible to tell what the future holds and everyone should take the necessary steps to protect their financial future. Pre-nuptial agreements are especially important if you or your spouse have children from a prior marriage, have substantial debts or assets, or have a great disparity in income.
What is a Post-Nuptial Agreement?
As the name suggests, a post-nuptial agreement is a written contract that is drawn up after a couple is married. It is also an agreement to settle and protect the division of assets in the event of a divorce. Post-nuptial agreements are usually signed when financial issues become a problem in a marriage. They provide relief from uncertainty and can be helpful in settling disputes in a responsible manner. These agreements typically include ownership of assets, household expense budgets, and other declarations.
As is the case with any legal agreement, there is often great confusion pertaining to the details and specifics. Here are some answers to a few popular questions:
- I don’t have significant assets. Is a pre-nuptial agreement still useful? The answer is yes. While pre-nuptial agreements are very beneficial for individuals with significant assets, these contracts should be considered by other couples as well. In the event you receive an inheritance or earn large sums of money in the future, it is helpful to have a pre-nuptial agreement already in place.
- Can a pre-nuptial agreement be changed after I am married? The answer is again yes. A pre-nuptial agreement can be revoked, amended, or abandoned at any time as long as there is a written agreement signed by both parties.
- By entering into a pre or post nuptial agreement, what rights am I waving? In either case, the waiving party is agreeing to give up all rights and benefits outlined in the agreement to the other party in the event that the agreement is executed.
For more information on pre and post nuptial agreements, family law, criminal law, domestic violence, post-conviction relief, and DUI defense, and to further discuss legal options, call Russell Spatz at 305-442-0200.