Prenuptial agreements have been stereotyped in the media as a tool for wealthy men to keep their money away from their much younger wives. In countless television shows and movies, women are forced to sign away their rights before going through with the wedding, but in reality, prenuptial agreements can be incredibly beneficial to a marriage and set both spouses up for success.
Establish Property Rights
The top reason why couples draft a prenuptial agreement is to establish property rights prior to the marriage. A prenuptial agreement can dictate which spouse receives what assets and is responsible for what debts. This can be applicable during the marriage as well as if the couple ever decides to divorce. In addition to defining what property is separate that each spouse is bringing into the marriage, it can also identify the property with which each spouse will leave the marriage. In addition, if a spouse enters the marriage with debt or assumes it during the marriage, a prenuptial agreement can dictate which spouse is responsible for paying off the debt. Some of the most common examples of this are credit card debt or gambling debts that one spouse incurs without the other.
Define Estate Planning
Another benefit of prenuptial agreements is that a couple can define their estate planning wishes. This is particularly useful if the couple is blending families or has children from a prior relationship. While a will, power of attorney, and other documentation is always recommended for establishing an estate plan, a prenuptial agreement can clarify issues of inheritance and clearly define property rights for heirs and beneficiaries to the estate.
Avoid Costly Divorce Battles
Finally, a prenuptial agreement can prevent costly and contentious divorce battles. The majority of divorce litigation is centered around issues of property division, so by clarifying property rights before the marriage even begins it avoids these issues if the couple ever decides to separate. Spousal support can also be included in a prenuptial agreement as protection for the less wealthy spouse if the couple ever chooses to divorce. This saves time, money, and emotional distress for both spouses if they ever choose to end the marriage.
However, it is important to note that a prenuptial agreement cannot cover all matters in a divorce case, particularly if minor children are involved. Matters such as child custody, visitation, and child support cannot be dictated by a prenuptial agreement and can only be decided by the court. Talk to a knowledgeable family law attorney today to learn more.
Call or Contact the Office Today
Getting a prenuptial agreement has the potential to settle many issues before they ever come up and set up your marriage for success. Call or contact us us today at the Law Offices of Steven Gildin now to learn more.