Prenuptial Agreements

A contract that is designed for people about to be married is called a prenuptial agreement or prenup for short. The contract usually lists the property each person owns, each person’s debts, and then it specifies what the person’s property rights are once the individuals are married. Prenups specify how the marital property will be divided in the event of a divorce or how the couple wants to distribute the property if one of them dies. The latter option is useful for second marriages if the spouse wants to preserve property for children or grandchildren. If a prenup does not exist, the state determines how property is divided, and property you own prior to marriage may be divided if divorce or death of a spouse occurs.

Marriage is considered a contract between two individuals and certain property rights are automatic when individuals are married. Without a prenup, the spouse usually has the right to:

  • Share ownership of property acquired during the marriage with the idea that the property will be divided equally in the event of a divorce.
  • Incur debts with the understanding that one spouse may have to pay for the debts incurred by the other spouse.
  • Manage the marital property with the shared right to sell or give away property.

If you think that these marital laws may not protect your property in a way that you would like once you are married, then a prenuptial or ‘prenup’ agreement may be what you need. The prenuptial agreement will give you more control over how your property is handled in any given situation including marriage and divorce. If you and your spouse are considering a prenuptial agreement, contact the Rotolo Karch Law attorneys to discuss your options.

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