What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A Prenuptial Agreement is a contract between couples intending to get married. There are different reasons that people will enter into these contracts and different matters that the parties will address in them. Some of the common reasons for a prenuptial agreement include:

  • to protect the interests of children from a previous marriage;
  • to protect separate assets owned by the parties prior to the marriage;
  • to define the intended personal and economic relationships during the marriage;
  • to prevent costly divorce litigation in the event of a separation or divorce of the parties;
  • to define rights of inheritance in the event of a death of one of the parties.

A Prenuptial agreement often involves the waiver of personal rights in the event of a separation or divorce, or in the event of a death of one of the spouses during the marriage. It can address only one matter, or it can address many matters.

Prenuptial agreements oftentimes address issues of the parties retaining their separate property that they each owned prior to marriage, with the other party waiving any claims to that property. It will often address the rights of support, alimony pendente lite, alimony, equitable distribution, and other rights arising out of a marriage. Many times, a prenuptial agreement will address the rights of the parties in the event of a death of a spouse, including what will happen to that party’s separate property.

It is recommended that you never sign a Prenuptial Agreement until you have had your own attorney thoroughly review it with you.

You need to have an understanding of your rights and what you may be giving up, and the impact that this may have on your future.

It is also recommended that if a couple intends to enter a prenuptial agreement, it should be discussed, drafted and reviewed well in advance to the wedding date, to allow for sufficient time to identify all of the intentions of the parties and to properly draft the agreement, allowing time for all to review and consider.