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Premarital Agreements

These are gloomy times we live in. What was once a bond that involved romance, unity and harmony has now been replaced with practicality, assurance and security. Mind, these are not bad characteristics, but again, these are gloomy times we live in, and safety measures should come together with love and respect. Finances are an important matter nowadays, and one of primary points of conflict between married or unmarried couples. What to buy, how to use, or what percentage goes to what are decisions that are based on values. Some people handle money as future assets, while others view it as present pastimes. So, in order to help pave the way for a smoother ride to wedding bliss, premarital agreements were conceptualized.

Premarital agreements, also known as prenuptial agreements, are contracts written and legalized before marriage to discuss issues such as the division of joint assets and property or spousal support in case of a breakup. Some countries recognize it not only during a breakup but also during the time of marriage, so that assets can be protected in case of situations of financial conflict such as bankruptcy. Other countries have matrimonial regimes instead of prenups. Married couples or those who are about to marry can make use of the prenup. There are cohabitation agreements for those who are not married.

Different countries have different opinions and legal recognitions concerning premarital agreements. In the United States however, all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia recognize the contract providing that the agreement is in writing, is executed voluntarily, has full or fair disclosure at the time of execution and must be executed by both parties.

Understanding Premarital Agreements and Forms

In order to understand premarital agreements fully, you must do your research and contact an experienced divorce lawyer. Using a prenup, the couple can keep their finances separate from each other, protect each other from bad debt, provide for the children from prior marriages, keep property within the birth family if the spouse wishes so, can already divide assets in case of divorce, and can ascertain particular responsibilities by the husband or wife within the marriage.

A prenup cannot discuss anything that involves the custody, support or visitation rights of children. It cannot 'encourage' divorce, meaning that if it appears there is some sort of financial reward in cases of divorce to one of the parties, then the lawyer may discourage placing it there. It cannot discuss rules regarding non-financial matters such as household chores, the changing of last names, or having and raising children; these are separate matters all together.

It is best to check with a lawyer regarding legal forms and liabilities of a prenup. However, the couple can initially draft a prenup to hasten the process. It is best to bring the draft to separate lawyers for review. For some a prenup may lessen the romance and novelty of a marriage. Remember though: it's only a contract. The real defining moment is when both parties work hard at respecting boundaries, financial or otherwise.