If you’re getting married, are you considering a prenuptial agreement with your soon to be spouse? Or, have you already entered marriage and are now considering a postnuptial agreement? Many people feel that having a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place helps to take the stress out of marriage so that, if they were to divorce, the plan to resolve the financial aspects of the marriage and divorce are already identified. If the thought has crossed your mind, below is some information to help.
What is the difference between the two agreements?
A prenuptial agreement (sometimes called antenuptial or premarital agreement) is a contract agreed upon prior to a couple entering marriage or domestic partnership while a postnuptial agreement is a contract agreed upon after a couple enters marriage or domestic partnership.
Does Pennsylvania favor these types of agreements?
If you’re considering an agreement with your significant other, it’s important to know that these types of family agreements are favored in Pennsylvania and are generally presumed to be valid, binding, and non-modifiable by the courts. Accordingly, if you are contemplating marriage, or divorce, you should be aware that even agreements that foreclose certain rights under the law will be upheld as long as such agreements are not obtained through fraud, misrepresentation, coercion or duress, and as long as there was full disclosure by both parties.
What do I need to take into consideration when creating an agreement?
Both prenuptial and postnuptial agreements take many items into consideration. While the list can be unique to each couple, below are the most common items that should be considered when drafting an agreement:
- Waiver of estate rights
- Waiver of rights under the Divorce Code
- Distribution of property
- Exclusive occupancy of your home
- Legal fees and expenses
- Retirement benefits
- Alimony and spousal support
- Child support
- Tax issues
How do I begin?
Creating a marital agreement is not a routine exercise, and the laundry list of items that need to be taken into consideration can be overwhelming. If done without the help of a legal professional, important items can be overlooked and the result can affect you and your family long term. We highly recommend having an attorney assist you with your agreement to ensure it meets the requirements of Pennsylvania law and is therefore binding and enforceable.
Meet with our lawyers at Wilder Mahood McKinley & Oglesby to discuss your situation thoroughly and assess your options. They can help you draft, implement and defend a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. To learn more, contact us online or call our law firm at 412-261-4040.