Pre and Post Nuptial Agreements
Pre-Nuptial, Ante-Nuptial, Cohabitation, Post-Nuptial and Marital Settlement Agreements. No one planning a wedding expects to get divorced. However, it happens. All marriages end one of two ways: death or divorce.
Parties can address their specific situation through agreements which will resolve the issues which may arise due to their marital relationship. Agreements between spouses are contracts and they can be specifically written to address a myriad of issues. All of these agreements involve tax and other considerations that require skill and knowledge to be properly prepared. Experienced family law attorneys know that an agreement negotiated between parties will achieve the basic outcome because it allows the parties to fine-tune matters the courts are ill-equipped to resolve.
Pre-nuptial Agreements, also called Ante-Nuptial Agreements, are contracts entered into by people about to marry. They are used to resolve, in advance, issues such as support and property distribution in the event of divorce, and surviving spouse rights in the event of death. If there is a significant difference in pre-marital financial situations (as is the case with high net worth, wealthy individuals, or young individuals with family wealth or financial interests), it can make sense to negotiate terms of separation in advance because traditional calculations for the division of assets, spousal support and alimony are often inadequate. These agreements are a tool to pre-determine rights and obligations to avoid divorce litigation or conflicts over a decedent’s estate.
Pre-Nuptial agreements often arise in the context of second marriages when the engaged couple have children from prior relationships, when one or both have ownership interests in businesses, or where both hold other types of investments. These agreements are used to tailor and modify the law to the desires of the marrying couple in the event of dissolution of the marriage or death.
Cohabitation agreements work in the same way as pre-nuptial agreements but involve parties who are not marrying. Non-married couples are sometimes treated differently under the law from married couples, so cohabitation agreements are a useful tool to ensure that the desires of the non-married couple are met in the event of termination of the relationship or death.
Post-nuptial agreements are entered into after parties have married. A post-nuptial agreement, also called marriage settlement agreements, may arise in the context of a separation, a divorce, or simply to spell out certain rights of a married couple. These agreements are negotiated for divorcing parties to resolve pending economic claims, property claims, support issues, child custody and other similar matters. Properly drafted marital settlement agreements are valid and binding contracts that take the place of a Judge having to conduct a trial and make a decision.