Understanding Prenuptial Agreements

When people think of prenuptial agreements, their minds often wander to celebrities, to famous billionaires, and to professional athletes. In other words, they believe that it is not for them. However, in my twenty years of practicing law, I have seen many people surprised to find that prenuptial agreements actually make sense for them.

What Prenuptial Agreements Cover

Prenuptial agreements are contracts that couples enter into prior to marriage, which become effective when the couple marries. Governed by the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act (UPAA), these agreements allow future spouses to settle the following issues prior to marriage:

  • Property rights and obligations regarding existing property and property that will be acquired in the future;
  • The right to “buy, sell, use, transfer, exchange, abandon, lease, consume, expend, assign, create a security interest in, mortgage, encumber, dispose of, or otherwise manage and control property”;
  • What happens to property if the couple should separate and divorce, or either spouse dies;
  • Spousal support obligations in the event of a divorce;
  • The creation of a will, trust, or other estate planning tool to effectuate the agreement;
  • Life insurance beneficiary rights; and
  • “any other matter” that does not violate public policy or break the law.

As a contract, prenuptial agreements are legally binding. In other words, the terms of the agreement are enforceable in court. The exceptions to this are: (1) if the agreement was not voluntarily entered by one of the parties; (2) if the agreement is “unconscionable”; or (3) if the spousal support agreement results in an undue hardship that was unforeseeable when the agreement was reached.

What are the Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement?

Prenuptial agreements have become an increasingly common and accepted part of planning for marriage. For couples, the existence of a prenupt can add predictability to a marital relationship. Reaching an agreement about property can give peace of mind to each spouse about the future, and is the result of an open and honest communication about finances and expectations.

In addition, prenuptial agreements ultimately save both spouses money. Contentious legal proceedings can become very expensive, very quickly. He existence of a prenuptial agreement reduces (or even eliminates) the need to litigate those complex issues.

An Attorney Can Help You

The Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas provides legal advice and representation regarding prenuptial agreements, divorces, property division, spousal support, and child custody disputes. If you are interested in sound legal counsel regarding a family law matter, such as a prenuptial agreement, contact me today. I have more than twenty years of legal experience and can provide smart, relevant legal advice. Contact The Law Offices of Robert S. Thomas at 847-392-5893 for to schedule an appointment or visit our website today.

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