Premarital and Marital Agreements
(also known as prenuptial and postnuptial agreements)
Planning for your marriage
Premarital and marital agreements, also known as prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, are legal contracts entered into by two people prior to marriage (premarital agreement) or following a marriage (marital agreement). Marriage, in addition to being an emotional relationship, is a financial commitment that obligates a couple to financially care for and provide for one another pursuant to state and federal law.
Why should you consider a premarital or marital agreement? If you are wealthy and wish to protect that wealth in the event the marriage dissolves, or upon the death of a spouse, such an agreement may protect your separate assets. If you are concerned about potential alimony or maintenance payments, the parties may make an agreement as to such payments in the event of divorce. If you own a family business, you can protect that business with proper planning. If you have children of a prior relationship and wish for them to be the primary heirs of your estate, the parties may address each other's inheritance rights in the agreement.
Premarital agreements disclose each person's assets and liabilities, and set forth their property rights in the event of divorce or dissolution of marriage and death. It is important that each party properly disclose their assets and liabilities, understand the nature of their property, and maintain such property in accordance with the marital agreement to ensure enforceability of the contract.