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What You Need To Know About Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements, which are sometimes referred to as antenuptial agreements, are designed to set forth in a written contract what will happen concerning the division of property and spousal support payments in the event of divorce. Prenuptial agreements also deal with the rights each spouse has to the other spouse’s estate in the event of death.

One thing that is certain concerning prenuptial agreements is they have nothing to do with the romance that leads up to marriage. Sometimes bringing up a discussion of a prenuptial agreement can have the impact of stopping the marriage from moving forward dead in its tracks.

Prenuptial Agreements and Divorce

Prenuptial agreements can help the individuals who enter into a marriage avoid, in the event of a breakdown of the marital relationship, a nasty, difficult, expensive divorce. Prenuptial agreements should be drafted a significant period of time before the date of marriage. A common problem clients face when they call a lawyer a week or so before they plan on getting married is that it usually takes weeks to work out the details, negotiations, and terminology in a prenuptial agreement. Parties who seek to have a prenuptial agreement drafted by attorneys should consider doing it three to six months in advance of their getting married.

Prenuptial Agreements and Disclosure

One of the first steps necessary before entering into a prenuptial agreement is the disclosure as to what each party’s assets are and what each party’s incomes are. Individuals entering into a prenuptial agreement must make a knowing, intelligent decision to enter into these agreements. An individual cannot make a reasonable, intelligent decision if they don’t know what the other party’s assets and income are at the time of the execution of the agreement.

Prenuptial agreements should not be thought of as a document prepared in the anticipation of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements simply lay out each party’s rights and obligations in the event of a divorce or death of one of the spouses. Unfortunately, the divorce rates throughout the United States are very high. In many areas, the divorce rate runs close to 50%. Therefore, putting each of the party’s cards on the table before they enter into the marriage and having an agreement showing what their cards will be when they leave the marriage involves planning for the possibility of a problem while the parties hope the problem never occurs.

Prenuptial Agreements and Obligations to Support Children

Prenuptial agreements generally do not deal with the financial obligations each of the parties has to support children who are born after the execution of the agreement. It is generally against public policy for prenuptial agreements to interfere with each of the party’s financial obligations to children born during the course of the marriage.

There are a variety of pros and cons concerning prenuptial agreements. Individuals going into their first marriage often have a hesitancy to be involved in this type of planning. However, individuals who have been married and divorced, usually want to have prenuptial agreements in their second or third marriages.

Elliot Schlissel is a divorce lawyer with more than 35 years of experience representing individuals in divorce actions. He has extensive experience in protecting father’s rights and helping fathers obtain custody and/or visitation with their children. The office offers free consultations and its phones are monitored seven days a week to deal with emergency situations.

About Elliot S. Schlissel

Elliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has spent more that 30 years representing individuals in matrimonial and family law cases.