A premarital agreement is a written agreement that a couple reaches before they get married. Before the marriage, each person has property that belongs solely to him or her. The “property” might be real estate, savings accounts, retirement funds, businesses owned, stock, bonds, jewelry and much more. A premarital agreement specifies what happens to these assets if the couple later gets divorced or one of the spouses dies.
Premarital agreements also cover property that is acquired during marriage and debts that exist before marriage or are incurred after marriage. Finally, premarital agreements may address whether spousal maintenance (alimony) may be paid if there is a divorce.
Movies and television shows tend to make people think that a premarital agreement always involves one person who is wealthy and another person who is practically penniless. In my experience, many premarital agreements are usually very different from that.
For example, the agreement may be between two people who both own considerable property and both want to make sure that some or even all of that property is passed on to their children, or others, in the event of divorce or death.
Premarital agreements can be a way to make a couple’s extended family less anxious and more supportive of the upcoming marriage. A daughter may feel reassured to know that no matter what happens, her great-grandmothers wedding ring will one day be hers. A son may be grateful to know that his future ownership in a business is protected.
An effective premarital agreement involves a careful detailing of the property that each person owns and what property is to remain separate and what property the couple wants to share. A thoughtful approach to working out the details is involved.
In my practice, I’ve found that premarital agreements may involve strong feelings for one or both of the parties. I am experienced in all these aspects of premarital agreements. The first step is an initial appointment for me to learn about your unique situation and what your goals are, and to give you options about how to meet these goals.
For more information or to make an initial appointment, call our office: (520) 885-9301.