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 ensures 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.