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Montgomery County Prenuptial Agreement Attorney

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Some marriages end in divorce.  Most people who get married do not enter into the marriage hoping it will end, but sometimes it is important to plan ahead for a divorce.  For most couples, who either enter a marriage without a large amount of wealth or have about the same amount of money, planning ahead for divorce may not be a big concern.

Sometimes, though, the parties to a marriage have vastly different financial situations going into the marriage.  In a typical Pennsylvania divorce, the court will divide the marital property “equitably” – which usually means “fairly,” but does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split.  For those marriages where one spouse is much wealthier than the other, this could be a devastatingly large amount of money lost along with the marriage, even if the spouse gets less than half.  There are ways, though, to protect your finances from a big divorce.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement, usually known by the nickname of “prenup,” is an agreement between spouses before marriage.  The “pre-” means “before,” and “nuptial” means “a wedding,” so a prenup is simply an agreement made before marriage.  Many mispronounce the word as “prenuptual,” but the proper term is “prenuptial.”

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The actual content of a prenuptial can vary from case to case, but the main point of creating a prenuptial agreement is to decide up-front what the other party may receive in the case of divorce.  This can be done a few different ways, including creating specific things that will be awarded upon divorce, or limiting which assets are available for division.  It may simply describe property and make clear to both parties that those assets are not marital property and will not be divided upon marriage.

Ultimately, the goal of a prenuptial is to protect someone’s wealth from being given to the other spouse if they ever get divorced.  This does not mean that the other spouse should get nothing, and so prenuptial agreements are often quite fair even though they usually establish a split that is less than 50/50.

In order to make prenuptials fairer to the spouse who is not wealthy, there may be conditions placed in a prenup.  These may include clauses that nullify the agreement should it end due to the wealthy party’s abuse or adultery, allowing the harmed spouse to seek a higher percentage of the marital property at divorce.

Who Needs a Prenuptial Agreement?

In some cases, if you think you might need a prenuptial agreement, it is better to be safe than sorry.  Paul McCartney of The Beatles famously married his second wife in 2002 without a prenuptial, while he was worth approximately $800 million.  When his marriage ended in divorce four years later, his wife was awarded approximately $48.6 million.  Despite being advised to get a prenup, McCartney refused, and lost a large sum of money because of it.

Certainly, most people in Pennsylvania are not multimillionaires, but McCartney’s situation can still be a lesson.  If you think that you have a lot of money, unique assets, property, inheritances, or a business, you may be doing yourself a disservice to get married without a prenup.  Especially in the case of business owners, you may be hurting not only yourself but your employees and your business by getting married without a prenup.

In order to decide if you need a prenup, it is important to understand what property is usually divided upon divorce.  Each spouse comes into a marriage with their own money and possessions.  These are known as “individual property,” and generally stay with the spouse who started with them.  Everything that is gained or purchased during the life of the marriage, with some exceptions, belongs jointly to both spouses and is called “marital property.”  Marital property also includes any increase in value of the parties’ individual property.  That means that, while a husband may enter a marriage owning a $10,000 painting, if after five years of marriage the painting is worth $50,000, that $40,000 increase in value is jointly owned by both parties.

Some prenups are designed to exclude property, like the example of the $10,000 painting, from following the rules regarding increase in value.  This is especially useful for people who own investments, property, collector’s items, or a business.  Since a business may grow in value over the life of a marriage, depending on the way the business is owned, all of that growth could become marital property.  Divorce could ultimately put business ownership and control in your ex-spouse’s hands, which could be devastating to its management.

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Speak With a Montgomery County Prenuptial Agreement Attorney Today

If you think you might need a prenuptial agreement, you should speak to an attorney who can help you plan your future.  The Law Offices of Sadek and Cooper represent clients who need prenuptial agreements, are going through divorce, and those facing other family and divorce law challenges.  For a consultation with an experienced family lawyer at Sadek and Cooper, call 215-814-0395.

 

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