Pre/Post Nuptial Agreements
Prenuptial agreements have gotten a bad reputation, and that’s unfortunate. There are a lot of very good reasons for having one of these contracts in place, as well as for crafting a post nuptial agreement when significant financial changes affect your life after you get married.
The top reason that people give for disliking the idea of a prenuptial agreement is that they think it reduces a marriage to a financial arrangement. They also don’t like the idea of even considering that the marriage may come to an end. This philosophy ignores the fact that nobody goes into a marriage anticipating divorce, yet many marriages do, unfortunately, end. By taking the time to thoughtfully and fairly discuss the financial details of a marriage dissolving at the beginning of your union – when you are still in love – you have a much better chance of minimizing hostility and pain and maximizing parity.
Beyond the idea of eliminating the adversarial tone that many divorces take on, there are also many legitimate financial reasons for having a prenuptial agreement in place. These include:
- To ensure that assets intended for children from a previous marriage are protected
- To maintain a substantial inheritance as separate property
- To protect funds provided by a family member
When a prenuptial agreement is requested, there are specific requirements that ensure that both parties are entering it of their own free will and with full knowledge of what the contract entails. Both partners must provide full financial disclosure, and both must agree that it is being signed without coercion or duress. If you are being asked to execute a prenuptial agreement that makes you uncomfortable, you are advised to consult with an attorney before signing, and may want to give serious consideration to whether the marriage is well advised.
In addition to the many good reasons for signing a prenuptial agreement, there are also many sound financial reasons for putting such an agreement in place after the marriage has already taken place. These include:
- To address career changes that significantly change income
- To recover funds withdrawn from a retirement account to eliminate marital debt
- To address the division of marital property purchased with premarital assets such as the proceeds of a sale of business or piece of property
The thought of proactively preparing for the end of your marriage makes many people uncomfortable, but it is a smart thing to do, and not unlike buying life insurance or taking the time for estate planning. Nobody wants to think about their death, and especially not an untimely death. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t happen to you, and leaving these matters unattended leaves everybody worse off.
Whether you need assistance in crafting one of these important agreements or need an experienced attorney to review a contract that you’ve been asked to sign, Teddi Ann Barry can help. Our compassionate and thoughtful professionals will treat your questions and concerns with respect, helping you to understand the need and the benefits, as well as to stand up for your rights if you are not being treated fairly. Contact us today to set up an appointment.