Stephen J. Buhler, Attorney at Law

Premarital agreements have practical uses

There can be a number of myths and misconceptions surrounding premarital agreements, or prenuptial agreements. For a number of reasons, premarital agreements are increasing in popularity and becoming more common. As more couples enter second marriages later in life, and more families are blending children from previous marriages or more couples have grown children, prenuptial agreements are becoming more common.

Premarital agreements not only protect the assets of one or both parties entering the marriage but can also specify how assets will be divided should the marriage end at some point or should a separation or death occur. A number of important concerns can be addressed in a prenuptial agreement including how property will be divided in the event the marriage ends, what property will remain separate and what will be considered marital property to be divided; how property will be divided if the couple divorces or if one party passes away; how debts and other financial considerations will be addressed; and agreements concerning insurance policies, retirement accounts and taxes.

Some concerns, such as concerns regarding children, cannot be addressed in prenuptial agreements. Additionally, it is important that prenuptial agreements are carefully considered and that laws concerning the formation of prenuptial agreements are also carefully understood because a prenuptial agreement may only be changed or revoked if both parties to the agreement agree in writing to do so. To be valid a prenuptial agreement must be in writing, signed by both parties and be entered into voluntarily free of duress or undue influence.

Prenuptial agreements offer a number of practical and important uses and allow parties entering a marriage to decide how they will treat property they are entering the marriage with and property they accumulate during the marriage should the marriage end. Family law provides a number of options for parties to be able to reach agreements that work best for their unique circumstances and families.

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