I TRUST MY PARTNER.
Divorces are often complicated by co-mingled assets and having to negotiate who is entitled to what, which can result in a great deal of acrimony and angst, and can lead to litigation fees, fueling even more anxiety and anger. There is a way, however, to dampen at least the financial fall-out of a divorce before even tying the knot.
Also known as a Pre-nup, a premarital agreement lays out the terms of who came into the union with what assets and debts, and how assets and debts will be apportioned in the event of a divorce. These agreements help smooth the way for a far less difficult divorce should the need arise. Sometimes a Premarital agreement can actually make for a smoother marriage because both parties know where they stand financially, including that they will be provided for in a fair way in the event of a divorce.
As with all insurance, a pre-nup is about protecting you and what’s yours, minimizing the need to fight over assets in the future. It's the pact that ensures the peace.
A well-conceived pre-marital agreement determines from the outset, the assets and income each party brings to the marriage, and states, in clear and no uncertain terms, exactly how material assets are to be divided in the event of a divorce. A good pre-marital agreement may even delineate what happens when either party acquires new assets, such as when they become beneficiaries of a will, or when joint purchases are to be made.
Think of a pre-nup as a kind of insurance.
Pre-marital agreements allow both parties to enter the marriage with their eyes wide open and with clear expectations, providing a solid foundation to the marriage based on full disclosure. Both parties know exactly where they stand and how finances will be conducted within the union, easing any underlying financial tensions – and thus effectively removing one of the greatest sources of conflict within any marriage. In this regard, a pre-nup is like marriage insurance because it diffuses and resolves a primary source of tension that creates so much discord in marriage, namely material assests. A premarital agreement may also be necessary to preserve family businesses and company assets.
There’s nothing quite like going through a divorce to learn the hard way why a pre-marital agreement is so important. A premarital agreement can also avert claims against family-owned businesses that can be costly to defend against.
A Pre-Marital Agreement should never be signed under duress. We highly recommend that you have an attorney before signing any agreement. Attorneys typically help parties draw up the contract and ensure they understand all of the provisions. A party who signs under duress, or without full disclosure, or understanding, may be entitled to invalidate the Pre-Marital Agreement. It is a good idea to start well before the wedding with seeking representation so that everything is tidy and settled before the big day. Alternatively, If you signed a Pre-Marital Agreement under duress, we advise that you consult with an attorney as to your options.