Pittsburgh Prenup Attorney
Before getting married, you should consider a prenuptial agreement to protect yourself and your assets.
A prenuptial agreement is a valid, customized contract between you and your soon-to-be spouse. It is most commonly used to determine each spouse’s financial rights during the marriage and in the event of a divorce. It is used to allocate specific real estate, personal property, investments, and other assets if a couple divorces. It can also be used to determine property transfers upon your or your spouse’s death.
Prenuptial agreements are essential for individuals with considerable wealth and family businesses. However, it is wrong to think these agreements are only for people with money. A prenuptial agreement is useful for anyone. A prenup is a tool couples can use to set their marriage up for financial success and to avoid arguments over money and property down the road. It is also an important tool many couples use to protect one another from their debt.
If you are curious as to whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you and your fiancé, or if you have other questions about divorce in Pennsylvania, contact a prenup attorney right away.
Call Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC at (412) 471-5100 to schedule a free, initial case consultation with a Pittsburgh divorce lawyer.
What a Prenup Can and Cannot Do
Many provisions may be included in a prenuptial agreement. Your agreement will be specifically tailored to you and your future spouse’s needs and wishes in regard to how to handle your finances during your marriage and in case of a divorce.
You may include provisions regarding:
- How you will handle each spouse’s income, including the amount individually retained or shared.
- Whether you will maintain separate or joint bank accounts.
- Which property and funds remain individually owned or become marital property.
- How much each spouse will contribute to marital expenses during the marriage.
- How each spouse may spend money during the marriage.
- How much each spouse may spend on future children or children from previous relationships.
- How you will handle debt accrued during the marriage.
- Who is responsible for debt accrued prior to the marriage.
- Who will save for retirement and how much.
- Who will be responsible for health insurance during the marriage.
- Who is responsible for holding life insurance policies during the marriage and who must be named the beneficiary.
- How real estate is divided in a divorce.
- How real property is divided in a divorce.
- Whether spousal support will be paid in a divorce.
- How much spousal support is paid in the event of a divorce
- How you may speak about each other during a divorce.
- A prohibition on discussing the divorce negatively on social media.
You can touch on a wide range of topics in a prenuptial agreement. It can be used to create an equitable financial situation in your marriage, solidify your financial goals, and to ensure one person does not take advantage of the other in a divorce.
However, there are certain things a prenup cannot do. You and your spouse cannot determine child custody through a prenuptial agreement. Custody must be based on the best interests of your children considering the circumstances at the time of the divorce.
Additionally, you and your spouse cannot agree to anything that is illegal or against public policy. If your prenuptial agreement includes something that is unlawful or simply unconscionable, a judge will not uphold it.
If you and your spouse are interested in putting unique or seemingly odd provisions into a prenup, you should each speak with a prenuptial agreement lawyer regarding the validity and enforceability of those provisions.
Benefits of Prenuptial Agreements
Prenuptial benefits have myriad benefits for everyone, not just high-net-worth individuals. Some of the benefits of prenuptial agreements include:
Protect a Spouse from Debt
Not everyone enters into a marriage with great finances. You or your spouse may have a significant amount of debt, such as student loan or credit card debt. You likely do not want to hold off on your marriage because of unruly credit card or student loan payments that will be with you or your spouse for decades. In this situation, a prenup can protect you or your spouse from unhealthy finances. It can ensure that one person’s debt remains their own.
Put Financial Goals on Paper
A prenup is also a great way to have honest discussions about money with your partner. Money is often the root of arguments in marriages, and unfortunately, leads to many divorces. By talking with your partner about what you each have, your individual and shared financial goals, and how to best achieve those goals, you begin your marriage with a strong foundation. You can dictate your financial plans in the prenup, making each of you accountable for your goals.
Streamline a Divorce
In the event of a divorce, a prenup enables you to avoid a lengthy or contentious court battle. If you and your fiancé(e) decide to divorce in the future, your prenuptial agreement with dictate and guide various terms of the divorce, usually the property division and alimony. You will still have elements of the divorce to discuss, though many of the large issues will be partly or fully resolved.
Who Should Consider a Pennsylvania Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenup can be a smart move for anyone:
- Who has considerable personal wealth
- Who has a considerable amount of personal debt
- Intending to take out student loans during the marriage
- With a stake in a family business or who runs their own business
- Intending to start a business during the marriage
- Who has children from a previous relationship
- Who expects to inherit a great deal of money or valuable property
- Who expects to build a valuable marital estate
- Who is concerned about whether their fiancé(e) is entering into the marriage for the right reasons
When A Prenuptial Agreement in PA is Enforceable
A prenuptial agreement is a contract, which means for it to be enforceable, it must adhere to certain legal requirements.
A prenup must:
- Be in writing
- Be signed by both parties
- Based on full disclosure of each party’s financial circumstances
It is important for a prenup to not be rushed and for each party to have their own legal counsel. If you and your partner are considering a prenup, you should each speak with a lawyer right away. The sooner you begin the process, the better. It gives you time to discuss all of the options together, draft an initial agreement, and have each of your prenup attorneys review the agreement before you sign. The more care you take in the process, the more tailored the contract will be to your situation, and the more likely a court is to enforce it in the future. If you rush through a prenup, sign it the day before the wedding, or one of you does not have a lawyer, there are bound to be problems with it in the event of a divorce.
Prenups Can Be Helpful, Even if You Don’t See Divorce in the Future
An engagement is a wonderful time. You and your partner are likely thrilled to be officially starting your life together, and you may feel discussing a prenup would take away from the romance of the moment or add stress to an already busy time. Those feelings are natural.
Prenuptial discussions should not focus on what may go wrong. Instead, focus on everything you can do to ensure it goes right. Your finances will be a central part of your marriage. There is no way to avoid it. By going into your marriage with a full understanding of your current finances sets you and your partner up for success. If you understand how each of you views money and tends to handle it, then you can avoid countless future arguments.
Contact a Prenup Attorney Today
Whether you are ready to begin drafting a prenup, or you and your fiancé(e) are still debating the merits of one, contact a prenup attorney at Pittsburgh Divorce & Family Law, LLC. During a consultation, an experienced attorney will explain what a prenup can do and how it may benefit your upcoming marriage.