The decision to remarry is not made lightly. Marrying a second time is oftentimes very different from a first marriage. The second time around, people are likely to have assets and children from a prior relationship. Recalling the time, money and emotional energy spent during your divorce, friends and advisors might mention a prenuptial agreement. A well-drafted prenuptial agreement can protect these hard-earned valuables.
Is it right for you? It is if you want to avoid the aggravation and expense of litigating your future. Protect yourself.
A prenuptial agreement is a contract between persons who plan to marry. The agreement addresses how property is to be divided or the terms of support/alimony in the event of a divorce or the death of one of the parties. Executing an agreement before being married in order to address what will occur in the event of divorce is not romantic, but it is smart.
What can be expected? What needs to be done?
Once it is decided that a prenuptial agreement is appropriate, the first step is to contact an attorney well in advance of a wedding date. Presenting a prenuptial agreement to one’s fiancée on the eve of a wedding adds unnecessary pressure to an already stressful time. Anticipate providing your attorney documentation of current assets, liabilities and sources of income. To ensure that an agreement’s validity cannot be challenged at later date, the parties disclose their current financial status. Prepare an outline of assets and liabilities and bring recent tax returns to your meeting to help make the process easier. Your prenuptial agreement can outline how certain assets will be divided between spouses in the event of divorce and if someone will receive support if the parties separate. Will assets be divided equally? Will certain assets, like a family business, be excluded from consideration in the event of a divorce? Will certain assets be set aside for a party’s children from the prior relationship? Will someone receive alimony? For how long and in what amount will the alimony be payable?
Negotiating the terms of a prenuptial agreement can become intensely emotional. Suddenly, the exuberant feelings surrounding an impending wedding are dampened by serious discussions of a possible future personal tragedy. Someone may feel slighted and someone else may feel exploited. Being offended by the negotiations will serve no purpose. Both parties should have the agreement reviewed by an attorney so that they may feel comfortable with the bargain reached. Do not be afraid to advocate for what you may need in the future. When people get married, rights are acquired. Marriage is a contract. Specifying the contract, according to terms the parties “can live with,” makes sense.