Getting married is an exciting time for couples – from the engagement celebrations to the wedding to the honeymoon. All these events take planning, and one thing couples should also plan for is how to handle the financial aspects of their future marriage. This financial planning may involve creating a prenuptial agreement, which is also referred to as a “premarital agreement.”

Some couples may think a premarital agreement is unnecessary and breeds distrust; however, if the situation of divorce arises, couples may regret not having one in place. Having a good premarital agreement means understanding and recognizing the rights, debts, and assets of a future spouse, especially in the case of high net worth individuals.

If you are considering a premarital agreement with your soon-to-be spouse, or if you are already married and looking to create a similar type of agreement, which is called a postnuptial agreement, review some of the following issues:

  • Can a premarital agreement expire? If a clause is included in your premarital agreement that such agreement would expire after a particular period of time.
  • Can I include my children? In the premarital agreement, estate planning can be included, including provisions relating to your children from a previous relationship so that they inherit some of your property. Provisions relating to child custody or child support are always subject to modification by the court.
  • Is my premarital agreement valid? There are many items that are required in order to make the agreement valid in Pennsylvania. Consulting with an experienced legal professional is important to make sure all requirements are met. Some of the requirements include having the agreement in writing, having it signed by both parties, and making sure full disclosure of assets, liabilities, and income has been made.
  • Is it possible to have a premarital agreement after being married? If you are already married and wish to have something in place like a premarital agreement, a postnuptial agreement may be a valid option. For many high net worth couples, entering into a postnuptial agreement can help ensure that, in the event of divorce, each spouse exits a marriage with a fair distribution of holdings.
  • What are some of the common things found in a premarital agreement? Common issues include waiver of estate rights, waiver of rights under the Divorce Code, distribution of property, exclusive occupancy of your home, legal fees and expenses, debts, insurance, retirement benefits, alimony and spousal support, and tax issues.

To know if prenuptial or postnuptial agreements are right for you, talk with an experienced family lawyer to ensure your rights and interests are protected. With a good understanding of the issues, our firm can walk you through the process and help decide what best suits everyone. For more information, contact us online or call our office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at 412-261-4040.

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