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Prenuptial Agreements: What are They and Why Do You Need One?

Nobody wants to think about a divorce when planning entering a marriage, but the decision of putting a prenuptial agreement in place, may save couples from financial and emotional turmoil in the event of a divorce or separation.

A prenuptial agreement or prenup as commonly known, is a written contract entered by a couple before marriage or civil union, that allows them to control and select their legal rights in the event of a divorce or separation. A prenup typically lists all of the property and debts each person has and specifies what each person’s property rights will be after the marriage.

Who needs a prenup?

Many people think prenuptial agreements are only meant for the rich, and while prenups are often used to protect the assets of a wealthy party entering a marriage, middle class couples are increasingly entering prenups for a variety of reasons.

Couples without children may simply want to have a clear picture of their financial rights and obligations in the marriage. Other couples may want to have a plan in place in the case the marriage doesn’t work, and a divorce is required. This allows them to enter the marriage knowing the legal outcome in the event of a divorce. A prenuptial agreement is also a good idea to protect the spouses from each other(s) separate debts.

Many people use prenups to protect separate property to ensure the property goes to children from a prior marriage when they pass. Without an agreement in place surviving spouse might have the right to claim a portion of the other spouse’s property, leaving less for the kids.

If you don’t enter into a binding prenuptial agreement, your state’s laws determine who owns the property that you acquire during your marriage, as well as what happens to that property at divorce or death.

Creating a binding Prenuptial Agreement.

Courts are increasingly ready to uphold premarital agreements and every state permits them, although if a prenup s judged unfair or otherwise fails to meet state requirements, it could be set aside.

Because courts look carefully at the enforceability of prenups, it is important that you draft your agreement in a way that is clear, understandable, and legally sound. If you draft your own agreement, you should have separate lawyers review it and advise you about it, to ensure your current and future assets/debts are protected.

If you have questions about prenuptial agreements, or family  law in general, you should contact a knowledgeable attorney with experience in drafting and reviewing prenuptial contracts. To schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys, call (770) 422-4241 or email