Marriage is a joyous time for most couples, but this jubilation can often obscure foresight. The fact is that half of all marriages end in divorce, and it would be statistically prudent for each individual to protect the assets he or she acquired before getting married.
Prenuptial agreements have become one popular way for individuals entering into a marriage or civil union to protect their assets and determine each person's rights ahead of time, should divorce become inevitable. At the Law Offices of Sylvia S. Costantino, Esq., LLC, we are experienced in drafting prenuptial agreements that ensure the assets of each party are protected, should the marriage dissolve for one reason or another.
Basic Requirements of a Prenuptial Agreement
- The agreement must be signed prior to marriage or union.
- It must be written.
- It must have been signed voluntarily by both parties.
- Disclosure within should be full and fair to both parties, the terms of the agreement should be fair to both parties, and it must be executed by both parties before a notary public.
- It must include a statement of assets by each party.
What a Prenuptial Agreement Can Do
A prenuptial agreement is a contract that protects property and rights. Among those things protected by a prenuptial agreement are:
- Rights and obligations to property
- Rights to the use and management of property
- How assets would be divided
- Agreed-upon conditions of alimony
- Wills or trusts
What A Prenuptial Agreement Cannot Do
Issues of child support, custody and rights of access to children in the event of a divorce are legal issues, and they cannot be regulated by a prenuptial agreement. During the divorce process, questions of child support, custody and visitation rights will be determined by the court.
Who Needs a Prenuptial Agreement?
Many couples object to a prenuptial agreement for multiple reasons:
- They believe they will never hold sufficient assets to worry about it.
- They believe they can trust their partners.
- They believe any divorce or dissolution of civil union will be amicable.
- They believe their marriage or civil union will never be dissolved.
Of course, none of us can see the future, and we have no way of knowing whether these beliefs will hold true. We cannot know whether our husband or wife will, for example, inherit a large estate, or whether our partners prove equally trustworthy 20 years on. This uncertainty is what the prenuptial agreement is designed to guard against.
Drafting Your Prenuptial Agreement
In order to defend yourself against unenforceable provisions in your prenuptial agreement, both parties should seek legal counsel when drafting the document. This ensures that the agreement provides each person with as much defense as can be foreseen should divorce become inevitable. After the document is drafted, each party's legal counselor should go over the terms of the contract thoroughly before his or her client signs.
If you need help drafting or assessing the enforceability of your prenuptial agreement, the Law Offices of Sylvia S. Costantino, Esq., LLC can help. Call us today.