If you are considering marriage, it makes sense to protect your interests and assets before you are legally joined in matrimony. Unfortunately, statistics show that 50% of all marriages will end in divorce. Hopefully you will fall within the 50% of marriages that are successful, but it is never a bad thing to protect yourself against a divorce regardless.
A prenuptial agreement or a premarital agreement is a contract between a man and woman before they are married. A prenuptial agreement does not mean you think your marriage will end in divorce, but is more of a “recognition” that circumstances over which we have little or no control can change. Therefore, a prenuptial agreement is like an insurance policy that protects in the case of a divorce and outlines the division of assets and property in the event of a divorce. Prenuptial agreements may also include the types and amounts of support or alimony to which either party may be entitled. According to Pennsylvania law, prenuptial agreements are not binding on issues of child custody and, on occasion, child support. The lawyers at Kope and Associates are as devoted to providing honest, ethical, and aggressive representation to their clients before marriage as they are after marriage.
Whether you are somebody who wants to draft a prenuptial agreement to protect your financial interests in the event of divorce, are somebody who has been requested to sign a prenuptial agreement prior to or as a condition of marriage, Kope and Associates will thoroughly review your individual situation in order to either draft or review a fair, binding prenuptial agreement.
Since their Pennsylvania law firm was established, the family law attorneys at Kope and Associates have worked to educate their clients on why they should create a pre-marital agreement. You should consider a pre-marital agreement if:
- You have children from a prior marriage whose financial futures or interests you want to protect
- You have more income or assets than your future spouse
- You want to protect your premarital business or other assets you acquired prior to marriage from the equitable distribution process
- You want to decrease your financial liability and/or protect the wealth you have acquired throughout your lifetime, inherited, or have acquired during marriage in the event of a divorce
- You have an inheritance in your name or expect one in the future
Postnuptial agreements, also known as postmarital agreements, are agreements entered into after a marriage has taken place, but before the parties seek to divorce. As with premarital agreements, one or both of the parties usually is seeking to protect assets or income in the event of divorce.
The validity of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
The courts in Pennsylvania will not consider the “validity” of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreements (unless the agreement was entered into because of duress, misrepresentation or fraud) as long as both parties have made a full and fair disclosure to one another. In fact, in Pennsylvania, even if one party did not have the agreement reviewed by an attorney, it is still considered valid.
So, while you certainly can create and enter into a premarital agreement or postnuptial agreement on your own, having an experienced lawyer assist you will make sure that all of your assets and financial interests are legally protected and binding in the event of separation or divorce.
If you or someone you love is considering entering into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in in Harrisburg, York or surrounding areas of Pennsylvania, please contact Kope and Associates for a free consultation. The family law attorneys at Kope and Associates have particular experience in drafting legally binding prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.