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Making Sense Out of Dollars

Prenuptial Agreements

Part 1 of 9

Joel Lerner, Columnist
Posted 9/24/21

DO I NEED TO READ THIS NINE PART SERIES?

Am I about to marry for the first or second time!

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

Do I need a Prenuptial Agreement if I have few assets?

What can …

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Making Sense Out of Dollars

Prenuptial Agreements

Part 1 of 9

Posted

DO I NEED TO READ THIS NINE PART SERIES?

Am I about to marry for the first or second time!

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

Do I need a Prenuptial Agreement if I have few assets?

What can and cannot be put into this agreement?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of this instrument?

To the bride and groom, marriage is a loving contract between two people who want to spend the rest of their lives together. In the eyes of the law, marriage is also a contract between two people… not about love, but about a variety of financial rights and obligations.

It’s hard to talk about marriage as if it were “business,” but when it comes creating a prenuptial agreement, that’s exactly the approach you should take. A prenuptial agreement isn’t a well-planned “exit strategy” or evidence of a lack of faith in the relationship. It is simply protection against an unlikely and unforeseen “what if” circumstance…an important “insurance policy” on the legal issues of the marriage contract.

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement, antenuptial agreement, or premarital agreement, commonly abbreviated to prenup or prenupt, is a contract entered into prior to marriage, civil union, or any other agreement prior to the main agreement by the people intending to marry or contract with each other. The content of a prenuptial agreement can vary widely, but common includes provisions for division of property and spousal support in the event of divorce or breakup of marriage. They may also include terms for the forfeiture of assets as a result of divorce on the grounds of adultery; further-conditions of guardianship may be included as well.

What Legal Requirement Make Up A Prenup?

Like any other legal contract, a prenuptial agreement must satisfy basic legal requirements. Five elements: are required for a valid prenuptial agreement:

1. agreement must be in writing (Oral prenups are generally unenforceable);

2. must be executed voluntarily;

3. full and/or fair disclosure at the time of execution;

4. the agreement cannot be unconscionable;

5. it must be executed by both parties (not their attorneys) “in the manner required for a deed to be recorded”, known as an acknowledgement before a notary public.

Prenuptial agreements in all U.S. states are not allowed to regulate issues relating to the children of the marriage, in particular, custody and access issue. The reason behind this is that matters involving children must be decided in the children’s best interests. However, this is controversial: some people believe that as custody battles are the worst part of a divorce, couples should be able to settle this in advance.

THOUGHT OF THE WEEK

“Take care of your thoughts when you are alone but take care of your words when you are with people.”

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