A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into by a couple before marriage. The agreement sets forth the property rights of one or both of the couple. A prenuptial agreement clarifies and defines the interests of the parties, regarding individual property and property acquired after marriage. Many times, a prenuptial agreement prevents misunderstandings and resultant disputes. Generally, for a prenuptial agreement to be valid, the agreement must provide a fair and reasonable provision for the party not seeking the enforcement. There must be full disclosure of assets and debts. Each party must be represented by his or her own attorney. The parties must also enter into the agreement freely and voluntarily on independent advice of an attorney and with full knowledge of their respective rights.
You do not need assets like Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey to need a prenuptial agreement. You may have something with sentimental value which you always want to keep. Consider a prenuptial, especially if you have children from prior marriages who you intend to put through college. A prenuptial is one more way to avoid future potential conflict.
Some reasons why couples choose to enter into a pre-nup:
- Estate planning. If one partner has done their estate planning, a pre-nup can protect that plan. (Kudos for doing the estate planning).
- To protect the parties if one partner chooses to stay home and raise the children. A pre-nup can clarify that this decision was made jointly and parenting duties are still equal.
- To protect a non-earning spouse.
These are just a few examples where a pre-nup can be beneficial. It is my experience that couples often show up at the attorney's office only days before the wedding. As with any other contract, time and attention to detail is critical. Be certain the pre-nup says what you intend it to say, as it will be upheld by the court in the future.
So don't wait until you buy the flowers. Contact the attorneys at Elise Buie Family Law Group when you buy the ring. Do you know anyone getting married? Please direct them to our website. It will be the best gift they receive.
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