Unquestionably, a fair, legally-binding pre-marriage agreement is your
safest way to secure your assets. A pre-marriage agreement is a written
contract between intended spouses which specifies how their marital property
and income shall be divided should they divorce.
And contrary to belief, pre-marriage agreements aren’t only for the
wealthy. More couples with average income and wealth now use pre-marriage
agreements as an efficient, equitable way to settle matters in advance
of a future divorce.
Pre-marriage agreements also resolve complex issues that are less easily
reconciled by a divorce court. For example, a spouse with substantial
assets may want his children from a prior marriage to inherit his wealth.
A pre-marriage agreement is then the ideal way – perhaps only way
– to secure this wish. The pre-marriage agreement can similarly
stipulate to a predetermined spousal alimony as well as property division
upon separation, divorce or death. The agreement lets both parties marry
confident that their respective post-marital needs will be fulfilled should
their marriage end.
Pre-marriage agreements are particularly useful when the parties don’t
rely upon each other financially. Older couples often marry for companionship,
not financial security. When one or both spouses have wealth and children
from a prior marriage, the pre-marriage agreement insures the desired
disposition of their respective assets. These couples usually agree to
share assets accumulated during their marriage, while assets accumulated
before marriage or through inheritance remain their separate property.
A pre-marriage agreement promotes fairness, avoids hostility, saves legal
fees and divorce court delays and encourages the couples to more predictably
plan their financial future.