A prenuptial agreement is an agreement made between a couple, usually while they are engaged, that sets forth what a divorce might look like if they should ever decide to divorce. A Prenuptial Agreement is not something you should just download off the Internet. There are certain formalities that must be observed for a Prenup to be valid.
For the prenuptial agreement to be valid, both parties must:
- Enter into the agreement voluntarily
- Have sufficient time before the marriage to consider all its terms
- Fully disclose all assets (or waive disclosures in writing)
- Have an attorney review the document on his or her behalf (or waive his/her right to have an attorney, which must be written in the agreement)
There are many reasons people may want to sign a prenuptial agreement (and plenty of reasons why you should).
- Protection of inheritance – Many people who come from wealthy families or who stand to inherit a large amount of money, may want to make sure the money stays with the family in case of a divorce. Signing a prenuptial agreement can address that.
- Protection of a business – If a spouse owns a business before getting married, he or she may want to make sure the entire business remains with him or her in case of divorce, especially if most of the business was developed before the couple is married.
- Debt – If someone has a large amount of debt coming into a marriage, the other spouse may want to make sure he or she will not be responsible for any of it. For example, student loans are often an issue during a divorce. Many people want to make sure student loan debt remains with the student.
- Children from a previous marriage – A prenup can ensure children from a previous marriage will inherit certain assets if the parent dies. For example, if a business is to remain with the wife in the case of a divorce, her children will inherit the business upon her death. If there was no prenuptial agreement, then a portion of that business may go to the husband if the parties are divorced and leave less for the children to inherit.
- Alimony – Many spouses do not want to pay alimony in the event of a divorce. Such a case often arises if he or she was married once before and is already paying alimony. Many do not want a repeat of the first divorce, so they protect themselves ahead of time.
- Pension and retirement benefits – This is often the case with police officers who participate in the PFRS pension system. Once you are married, your spouse will have a marital interest in your pension. The only way to ensure that your spouse can’t share in the pension if you ever get divorced is to address it in a prenuptial agreement.