Most people never consider a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot. Some consider a prenuptial agreement as something limited to celebrities and millionaires looking to protect their wealth. Others believe a prenuptial agreement is a sign that the couple is not committed to making the marriage work. However, in some cases, a prenuptial agreement can help benefit both spouses.
A prenuptial agreement, sometimes called a “prenup”, is a contract entered into by individuals before they get married. The prenuptial contract may contain provisions on how to divide property, spousal support, identification of debts and assets, and other issues that may come up if the couple eventually separates.
Prenups may be most well-known for celebrity couples who could be on their second or third-marriages, such as Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. However, prenuptial contracts have been around for a very long time. A 4,000-year-old Assyrian prenup tablet was recently discovered in Turkey. The clay tablet contract provided that, in the event, the couple failed to conceive a child within two years after marriage, the husband could use a surrogate to conceive a child.
A prenuptial agreement is most common where one spouse has substantial wealth and may be entering a second marriage. However, some aspects of a prenuptial agreement may be beneficial to everyday engaged couples. Examples of couples who may want to consider a prenup include those where one individual:
- Has children from a previous marriage and want to provide for their inheritance;
- Owns a family business and want to maintain the business practice in the event of a divorce; or
- Is giving up a career for the marriage.
However, some still find a prenuptial agreement to be a bad idea before getting married. For many couples, a prenup is a deal-breaker, and one spouse may not even consider such a contract. A prenuptial agreement may also fail to provide enough financial protection for one spouse if the other spouse dies.
Prenuptial agreements can be changed or revoked during the marriage. In order to make changes to a prenuptial agreement or revoke the contract, both parties must voluntarily agree to make changes or revoke the agreement in a signed document.
Even if a couple enters into a prenuptial agreement, a court may determine the terms of the contract make it unenforceable. In order to be enforceable, the prenuptial agreement must generally be made in writing, voluntarily signed by both parties, and not be “unconscionable” at the time it was signed. If a soon-to-be-spouse is coerced into signing the agreement or one party failed to disclose their assets, the court may find the prenup is not enforceable.
Jerkins Family Law
If you have questions about the benefits of a prenuptial agreement before you get married, please do not hesitate to call Jerkins Family Law for assistance. JFL is committed to providing passionate representation for you and your family. We can help make sure your family and assets are protected in the event of a divorce or separation. Visit our dedicated divorce page and contact us today so we can guide you to a better solution.