Should I have a Prenuptial Agreement?

October 14, 2014 | By Robert I Whitelaw

A prenuptial agreement is not the death knell of romance! It is a misconception that if you are not a celebrity and do not have millions of dollars, you do not need a prenuptial agreement.  Couples from all tax brackets should talk about financial issues prior to their marriage and may benefit from a prenuptial agreement. Although the word “prenup” may cause an implosion to pre-marital bliss, talking about financial issues in advance of marriage often times helps couples ease their minds by understanding their future spouse’s financial standing and ensuring no surprises once married.  Prenuptial agreements can be tailored to match each couples needs and protect both parties, not just the wealthier spouse.  Today, even young couples who fall victim to the “starter marriage” phenomenon are realizing that a prenuptial agreement can make for a painless and “smarter divorce!” 

If your fiancé absolutely refuses to sign a prenuptial agreement, do not panic! There are ways to protect most of your assets during the marriage without an agreement.  In Pennsylvania, property acquired prior to marriage and gifts and inheritances received during a marriage are not marital property provided they are kept in separate name and not commingled with other marital assets.  The caveat to this rule is that the increases in value to the pre-marital property and to the gifts and inheritances will become a marital asset.

Do not wait until the night before the wedding to raise the issue of a prenuptial agreement with your fiancé.  Be honest – in order for a prenuptial agreement to be valid, there must be full and fair disclosure of both parties’ assets.  And if all else fails, make sure your deposits to the wedding caterer and florist are refundable!

About the Authors

Bob Whitelaw

Robert I Whitelaw

Of Counsel

Bob has been one of Philadelphia’s leading divorce attorneys for over four decades, representing clients in the Philadelphia area, the Main Line, Montgomery, Delaware, Bucks and Chester counties and throughout Pennsylvania. He...

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