Amanda concentrates her practice in all aspects of family law including divorce, adoption, child and spousal support, custody, separation and domestic abuse in the greater Doylestown, PA area. Amanda advises people during...Read More by Author
PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT SERIES (PART 1): Do I Need a Prenup?
A prenuptial agreement, or “prenup”, is a contract or agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation and advance of marriage. A common misconception is that prenups are only needed if you are a celebrity or have millions of dollars in your estate. However, there are a variety of reasons that a person may wish to enter a prenup before their wedding day. Some of these considerations include:
Protect Existing Assets
A prenup is a valuable tool frequently used to protect assets that you currently have or own prior to the marriage. For example, if you have $50,000 in a retirement account prior to marriage, that money could exponentially increase over 30 years of marriage. You may want to protect that initial asset at the onset and protect its potential growth in value during the marriage. Thus, if you do not want your spouse to receive any portion of said account, then you can include language in a prenup to exclude your spouse from receipt of those retirement funds.
Pre-determine Division of Future Assets
A couple will likely acquire numerous assets, of varying size and value, throughout the marriage. A prenuptial agreement can allow parties to pre-determine the division and distribution of said assets, and liabilities as well. For example, the parties may decide they want to equally split any assets acquired during the marriage – no matter what. This can be included as a term in a prenup, and a benefit is that the parties pre-determined the division and likely avoided costly litigation or the chance a court may decide said distribution for them.
Forfeit Spousal Support or Alimony
In the event of divorce, you or your future spouse may be entitled to alimony or spousal support. This can be a costly issue to litigate. Parties can utilize prenups to agree to waive said support or affix a pre-decided number and duration for support for either party, regardless of future circumstances.
Protect Family Interests
A popular reason that one seeks a prenup is to protect his or her family’s interests. This could be a family business in which the party has an ownership interest prior to marriage, or this is a second marriage for the party and he or she has children from the first marriage that they want to ensure their assets go to. In these instances, a party can specifically control who gets, and who does not get, which of their assets/interests if the couple later divorces.
Another reason that couples consider entering prenups is to decide what happens to their marital estate in the event of a spouse’s death. If the parties were separated, but not divorced at the time of death, what does the surviving spouse receive? And how would this be affected if the deceased has a last will and testament? Prenups can help settle these questions.
Prenuptial agreements can truly be customized and designed to fit each individual or couple’s needs. The attorneys at Obermayer are experienced in discussing and preparing these agreements, set up a consultation today to discuss the future of your family.
The information contained in this publication should not be construed as legal advice, is not a substitute for legal counsel, and should not be relied on as such. For legal advice or answers to specific questions, please contact one of our attorneys.