Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Prenuptial agreements a popular tool for real property protection

Modern life can be enormously complicated, even for those who have little in the way of assets and simply seek a quiet life. Family law has become one of the cornerstones of American law as couples seek resolutions to problems both mundane and complex. With the divorce rate usually reported to be near 50 percent, love and marriage can further complicate an individual's already hectic life.

A recent survey of divorce attorneys has shown that the number of couples seeking prenuptials agreements prior to saying their vows is increasing. The increase comes as more couples see the practical utility of the contract. While the agreements are certainly becoming more popular they can spell the end of a relationship for some couples as some attorneys reported the negotiations leading to couples calling off their engagement. The cost of prenuptial agreements varies and pricing can be directly related to the complexity of the property and the amount of work needed to draft the agreement. While the agreements are growing in popularity, only about 3 percent of couples getting married do so with a prenuptial agreement in place.

Separate or non-marital property is usually not considered in a divorce here in Utah. Making the determination of what is marital property can be left up the courts or agreed to in a prenuptial agreement before marriage. Prenuptial agreements can be used to not only separate property already owned by a party but can determine the status of property purchased or gifted in the future. There are limits to the agreements, however, as most courts will not allow child custody and child support determinations to be made in a prenuptial agreement.

Prenuptial agreements are only one of many methods of assuring that a person's assets where they wish. The document can save divorcing couples a lifetime of bad memories and regret.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "The Growing Popularity of the Prenup," Sanette Tanaka, Oct. 31, 2013

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