What is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A Prenuptial agreement– also referred to as an Ante-nuptial agreement – is simply a contract, governed by state law, between two people contemplating marriage.
This agreement – or contract – states in writing the understanding of the parties contemplating marriage of how they will manage their joint affairs in the event there is a divorce in the future.
Prenuptial agreements tend to address financial issues such as the division of assets, rights to each other’s future income, and perhaps declarations of sole and separate property to which the new spouse will never possess any rights or control.
The parties’ understanding of non-financial issues may be declared in the agreement, but in many states these are deemed domestic matters and courts are reluctant to enforce such provisions that are best left to be negotiated amicably as spouses throughout a marriage. There is no harm in stating in writing the parties’ understanding of non-financial issues before marriage, but understand that courts are unlikely to enforce such writings as legally binding on the parties.
Given the potential for long-term financial implications and perhaps other unintended consequences from entering into a prenuptial agreement, it is essential for two people considering a prenuptial agreement to they each retain their own lawyer to represent their interests when drafting the negotiating and drafting the agreement.