A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract between two people who plan to marry. The purpose of the contract is to determine the rights of support and property should the marriage end by divorce or death. A prenuptial agreement may allow for each party to keep earned salary and assets acquired prior to and after the marriage; or it may provide for the earnings and assets to be shared. Some prenuptial agreements provide for one spouse to make alimony payments to the other spouse in the case of divorce.
While you may be concerned that making a prenuptial agreement indicates a lack of trust in the partnership with your fiancé, this isn’t necessarily the case. The most common reason for a premarital agreement is to protect property and assets owned by each party prior to the marriage from being divided should there be a divorce. But there are also other reasons for making a prenuptial agreement, particularly if you or your fiancé have been married before. For example, if you have children from a prior marriage, you may wish to preserve assets that were acquired during that marriage, so your children can benefit from them.
Understanding Prenuptial Agreements
Even if you are a young couple without property or assets, you can still benefit from discussing the issues involved with a prenuptial agreement, including:
- whether to pool and share your income
- whether to maintain separate bank accounts
- how to manage savings
- how to divide property if the marriage does not work out
- how to handle any debts incurred during the marriage
There are certain requirements for a prenuptial agreement. These are:
- Both parties must enter a premarital agreement voluntarily.
- The agreement must be in writing.
- It must be signed by both parties.
- Both parties should disclose their assets and income.
If you want to make a prenuptial agreement, you should talk to your fiancé about it before you get married. Both you and your fiancé should carefully consider the terms of your prenuptial agreement, and make sure they are fair. Do not sign the agreement unless you are happy with the terms; otherwise, it may be difficult to change the prenuptial afterward. Be careful not to underestimate the time it can take for both parties to come to an agreement. The next step is to talk to a qualified attorney.
If you are planning to get married, the attorneys at Duffy & Feemster can help you draft a prenuptial agreement. Contact us at (912) 236-6311, and speak with a lawyer who can make drawing up your premarital agreement simple and stress-free.