Prenuptial Agreements Can Make Divorce Less Contentious
On behalf of Scaringi Law posted in Family Law on Friday, November 11, 2016.
Prenuptial agreements have become more popular in recent years. It might seem like tempting fate to many newly engaged Pennsylvania couples, but preparing for the possibility of divorce is like taking out an insurance policy -- you have it in case of emergency and hope you never need it. Putting together such an agreement involves full financial disclosure and an idea of what you and your soon-to-be spouse want to achieve.
The assets that each of you bring into the marriage are considered to be separate property. Those assets can be identified in the prenup so that you can take your separate property with you if you divorce. Some property such as retirement accounts, homes or any other property that could appreciate during the marriage will need to have a starting value placed on them since any appreciation could be subject to division in a divorce.
If you or your fiance has a business, it can also be valued and protected in the agreement. Prenups can also be used as part of an estate plan -- especially if this is not the first marriage for one of you or if there are children from a prior relationship involved. It is important to know that prenuptial agreements need to be negotiated well in advance of the marriage in order to avoid a future claim of coercion or that it was signed under duress.
Furthermore, each party has the right to have the prenuptial agreement reviewed by an attorney prior to signing it. If it is not properly drafted and executed, it can be considered null and void by a Pennsylvania court in the event of a divorce. That would mean that you would have to start over to divide your property, which could result in a contentious court battle that neither of you wanted.