By: Valerie E. Anias, Esq.
There is a misconceived notion that asking for or discussing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement implies distrust or concern over your relationship and its future. This isn’t true! There are a significant number of benefits gained as a result of a prenuptial agreement, or postnuptial agreement if you’re already married.
There are two ways to dissolve a marriage: divorce and death. Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements help in making the dissolution as easy as possible.
The reality is this: marriage is both a romantic and business relationship. With very few exceptions nearly everything is or becomes marital. As such, nearly everything can become subject of costly litigation in the event of divorce or death. A well drafted and all-inclusive agreement will limit many of these issues. For example, the agreement will identify what is and is not marital property, each parties’ rights in the event of death or divorce, predetermine rights and obligations for spousal support, inheritance, and more. In addition, the agreement will have a complete financial disclosure including each spouses’ assets, liabilities, and income.
A properly drafted agreement will provide a full financial disclosure to both prospective or current spouses. It will list all assets, income, real property, personal property, etc. For example, what if you have your great-grandmother’s engagement ring? You’d want to be sure that said ring would remain with you, your children, and/or your family. If you were to pass, the value of that ring may ultimately be considered part of your estate and have to be divided. That could mean sold.
When contemplating whether you think a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is needed for you, you should consider whether you want to be on the hook for your partner’s debt in the event of divorce or marriage? Whether you want your spouse from a second marriage to inherit more than your children from their first marriage? Whether you want your private business to be impacted in the event of divorce or death?
Obtaining a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is simply a combination of planning and protection. Planning for the future of your spouse, children, and yourself while simultaneously protecting your spouse, children, and yourself.