A prenuptial agreement (also known as an ante-nuptial) is a contract between spouses that provides for how their assets will be treated if they divorce or one spouse dies. In contrast to this, post-nuptial agreements are often made when couples have already married and set up some kind of arrangement about financial matters should the marriage break down.
It’s possible to include all kinds of things in these agreements, such as who gets what property, how much money can be taken out from any joint accounts – even who looks after your children! The more specific you get with regards to day-to-day care arrangements it makes life easier for everyone involved because there won’t need to be any disputes at court.
With over 30 years of combined experience, our team of family lawyers can help you with prenuptial agreements and many other family matters.
What is the different between a post-nuptial agreement and prenuptial agreement?
A prenup can only come into effect once you are married, whereas a postnup comes in to force when your marriage breaks down. Post nuptials agreements are harder for people to contest as they were made before any legal proceedings began. This also means that if it couldn’t be agreed who should care for children or make decisions about their education, these issues will need to be resolved by court order which could take months of delays.
How do I know if I need a prenup agreement?
If you have a family business, children from a previous marriage or if your partner is in the public eye or has property or significant wealth, a prenup is essential.
A post-nuptial agreement will not help at all if the marriage breaks down and there was never any intention of it being in place beforehand.
Benefits of having a prenup agreement:
A prenup agreement means you can manage your assets better after a separation so as not to find yourself destitute if things do go wrong.
- It ensures that each person’s property is protected in the event of divorce
- You avoid any legal battles or long, drawn out family disputes.
- Everyone will know what they are entitled to and can prevent any false expectations from arising.
A postnuptial agreement on the other hand does not have these benefits.
How much detail should be included in the agreement?
This is something that can be discussed with a family solicitor.
It’s important to think about what you want: do you just wish to protect your assets or would you like children and finances dealt with too?
Hereby is a list of basic considerations but a good family divorce lawyer may suggest some more clauses so make sure these are included where possible:
A prenup agreement should include a clear definition of the property owned by each party on entering into their marriage.
It should include matters such as what happens to assets if one person dies;
It should include details about how any debts will be divided up after separation and what might happen in the event of divorce, such as custody arrangements for children or spousal support payments;
Details of who pays legal fees during separation proceedings could be mentioned here if appropriate. It is best to deal with all eventualities up front rather than have to revisit them later.
The agreement should also specify how long the pre-nuptial will last for, which state it applies in (if applicable) as well as any other relevant clauses; such as if one party owes debt before marriage etc.
The document needs to clearly outline that all discussions are finalised before signing this legally binding contract so there is no room for ambiguity during future proceedings.
Other considerations when it comes to prenuptial agreements:
When there are debts that will be split between both parties when they separate, it is important your attorney reviews all financial records and any other documents pertaining to loans or mortgages. If they don’t have access to these kinds of information then there may not be enough clarity for them to give clear advice around property division.
It’s important that all parties involved act with honesty and integrity when it comes to anything related to family law or prenuptial agreements as there can be major consequences if they don’t.
You need to have an independent witness present when you sign it who can confirm your signatures are authentic – otherwise, there’s potential for fraud!
If the divorce lawyer wrote up a family agreement and it turns out they were acting in bad faith or without disclosing information about their own financial dealings with one of the spouses, this could have dramatic implications for any future litigation around property division or child custody.
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