A thoughtful and practical approach to premarital agreements can greatly affect your marriage’s success. Premarital Agreements, also known as a Prenuptial Agreement, have historically provided protection for things like family owned businesses, providing for children from prior marriages, inheritances, trusts, and other assets. Utilizing premarital agreements is not uncommon for those with considerable wealth or even those who simply want to ensure their children from a prior marriage are provided for financially. Often, the “one size fits all” approach of divorce law, does not result in the fairest or best division of assets and debts. Judges must decide cases within the authority of the law that governs the issue at hand. Generally, they cannot creatively resolve these issues simply because the law does not allow it. With a premarital agreement, couples can decide in advance essentially their own rules for how their assets and debts are classified, valued and divided. And, they can determine in advance whether spousal support will be paid and, if so, how the amount and duration are arrived at. They can even decide how disputes that may arise from their agreement will be decided and by whom.
Some may say that approaching a marriage with a prenuptial agreement in hand is an awfully cynical way to start a new relationship. Monty believes its not cynical – it is practical. A thoughtfully crafted premarital agreement gives couples equal control over these issue from the beginning and they are not left wondering what rules or, for that matter, what law will apply if the marriage ends in divorce at some unknown date in the future. Remember, legislators and appellate courts are constantly revising the laws related to divorce, so the divorce laws on the date of your marriage may not be the same divorce laws on the date of your separation or divorce. And, for spouses with children from prior marriages, a well drafted premarital agreement gives couples the opportunity to preserve assets for these children if the new relationship ends, for example, because of their death.
As a result of this changing aspect of the function of premarital agreements, proper consideration of document language and an appropriate discussion about such an agreement with your future spouse are of the utmost importance in these situations. Monty Beck can assist you in determining the correct approach to take and help you to create a sound, binding agreement that protects your interests.