The following information is a Web Extra from the pages of Top Producer. It corresponds with the article "Protech With A Prenup." You can find the article in Top Producer’s Spring 2012 issue.
The following article is a blog post by Amy Salladay, attorney and partner at Knight & Salladay law firm in Columbia, Mo. You can read more law-related blog posts at www.columbiamofamilylawblog.com
Why do I need a Premarital Agreement?
A Premarital Agreement is a private agreement between a couple contemplating marriage. You can also have such an agreement prepared after your marriage, which if prepared after your marriage is called a Postnuptial Agreement. Typically the purpose of the agreement is to make coming to an agreement easier if your marriage ends in divorce.
It sounds "icky" and the most common complaint about Premarital Agreements is if you put something on paper that says what happens if you divorce it’s almost like you are already planning to get divorced before you have even gotten married. While this is a fair point to make oftentimes I have found Premarital Agreements accomplish much more than that.
Typical Premarital Agreements make provision for the following:
- How property owned by each of you prior to the marriage is to be divided;
- How property acquired during the marriage is to be divided;
- How income and earnings are treated during the marriage;
- Determining to what extent a spouse is entitled to alimony or spousal support if there is a divorce;
- Payment of attorney fees in the event of a legal separation or divorce;
- Payment of expenses for children and stepchildren; and
- How property is to be handled in the event of either of your deaths.
Premarital Agreements generally accomplish much more than determining what happens to your assets in the event of your divorce because by working with clients to draft and agree upon a Premarital Agreement it often serves as a form of premarital counseling that forces the couple to talk about money, finances, goals, and their future in a way that many don’t consider until they actually divorce.
I know it sounds strange but by forcing couples to put on paper a written plan for divorce I think it makes many marriages stronger. Too many marriages end in divorce because of financial reasons. A Premarital Agreement forces those tough financial issues out into the open in a way that if the couple can resolve them prior to marriage results in a stronger and longer relationship between the two of them for many years to come.