Marriage, Prenups and Divorce

A common legal step that is taken before marriage is a premarital agreement, or more commonly called a prenuptial agreement or prenup. Most people going into a marriage hardly think that they may end up in a separation or divorce, yet it happens quite a bit in our society. This prenup establishes property and financial rights of each spouse in the event of any divorce. Today, approximately one-half of all marriages in America end up in divorce. Considering a prenuptial agreement is the wise choice to make, considering the likelihood of divorce in the United States. Not only do prenups protect assets of more wealthy spouses, but they also can protect family businesses and serve other functions.

Yet the choice is up to you. There are, however, advantages and disadvantages of getting a prenuptial agreement. Although laws vary by each state, prenups can potentially protect a business or professional practice so that it is not divided with the spouse in the event of a divorce. Or, sometimes a prenup can protect the debt-free spouse from having to assume obligation of the other spouse. Further, a premarital agreement can sometimes limit the amount of spousal support that one spouse pays to the other in the event of divorce. More commonly, prenups are designed to protect persons with substantial wealth and older individuals who are going into a second marriage. Yes, second marriages are becoming more common since the first marriages are failing at an alarming rate.

You will have to weigh the odds of signing a prenup. An obvious disadvantage of signing the prenup before you get married is that you are starting a relationship that sets forth agreements on what will happen if you do divorce. Some people may say that this is not the best way to start a marriage – with lack of trust.   Other couples may say that they are too much in love to worry about such issues, as they believe that they will live with each other forever, but one spouse signs it anyway. Sometimes, by signing a prenup, the spouse that has less money or assets is giving up their right to inherit their spouse’s estate when he or she dies. By law, you are entitled to a portion of the estate even if the other spouse doesn’t even mention you in his or her will. As you can see, it is important to be informed before signing a prenup – whether you are the predominant wage-earner who may have more wealth or whether you are the spouse who may raise the family and take care of the home. Sometimes the person that takes care of the home and kids is faced with a prenup that he/she signed before marriage. If he/she is a non-wage-earning spouse, sustaining the lifestyle to which he/she has become accustomed to during the marriage can be challenging. The prenup can substantially limit the amount of spousal support that he/she can obtain in the event of divorce. Getting the assistance of a family law attorney, like Kessler & Solomiany, LLC, may be helpful to sort out your questions and concerns. Being sure that your rights and interests are protected is always a major consideration in any premarital agreement.

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