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Prenup definition — What is it and why consider one?

Though not as often used twenty years ago, as people have been marrying later and later in life, and often times marrying a second and third time, these agreements became more useful. In general terms, a prenuptial agreement is an agreement executed by two people who are contemplating marriage. Through a prenuptial agreement, the couple is setting forth how property will be divided should the marriage end in a divorce.  Often, it will say that whatever either owns prior to the marriage remains entirely his or her “separate property” no matter whether community property is used to pay for, invest in or repair.  Think mostly houses, but this also applies to other kinds of assets, too.  The prenup is also likely to set out the details of how, how much, or even whetherspousal support will be paid.  There have been some very creative and very controversial clauses inserted into these agreements.

Prenup definition – The “prenups” we see dramatized on TV and in movies usually revolve around a wealthier suitor trying to make sure he / she avoids a gold-digging romantic prospect.  In real life, that’s the exception, not the rule. Many couples have reasons for wanting – and often mutually – a prenup that are a lot less likely to put a damper on romantic sentiments on the wedding day than the “I’ve got to watch my back here” approach of TV characters.  In the lifetime prior to marriage, the bride and groom have likely already accumulated assets like homes and business and 401k’s that need to be defined and accounted for before the impending marriage. Doing a prenup when a couple unites provides a financial benchmark on which assets are whose, what they are worth at the time of marriage before assets are – if they are- mixed. Think business merger.  A new union might well bring together a bride and groom who already have children from a previous relationship, and who already have an estate plan in place for how their assets are to be divided when they die.  A prenup can effectively acknowledge those plans and actually help make sure they are carried out.

One of the key factors of a prenup is that it is objectively fair when the agreement is made. If a prenup is really lopsided when it’s made, it can later be voided by the family Court later if and when it is challenged.  Speaking of challenges: It is important to get each party
represented by legal counsel and everything is clearly understood. If one party doesn’t have a lawyer and the agreement hurts them, there will be trouble later in Court.

Some prenuptial agreements even contain clauses that prevent a person from obtaining any property if that person commits adultery during the course and term of the marriage.  With that said, the terms of different prenuptial agreements can be very … different. Call, lets talk if this is something you are considering.


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