One very important and useful agreement marrying couples enter into nowadays is the prenuptial or premarital agreement, a contract which clearly suggests how a couples’ properties and assets will have to be distributed in the event of divorce, legal separation, dissolution or annulment of marriage or death. Traditionally, prenuptials have always been thought to add when one or both parties are already very wealthy when entering the marriage, but this is changing to just be a standard clause. Though not intended to take away the romance in a marriage, a premarital agreement is, in fact, a very wise financial move as it will shield the divorcing couple’s financial future and not leave them suing one another for what one believes ought to be his or hers.
Though not originally an American practice, the need to enter into the agreement was introduced through the Married Women’s Property Act in 1848. Prior to the Act, a woman who was married was recognized only as her husband’s extension; thus, at the moment of marriage, she lost all her rights to possess, sell or transfer any property, earn income or receive educational training (unless permitted by her husband). And in the event that she would be allowed to work, she was obliged to surrender whatever she earned to her husband. All these were due to the legal rule known as coverture, the law that required a woman who entered into marriage to surrender her identity and rights to her husband. Due to this policy, any woman, though wealthy, faced the chance of losing everything she owned to her husband.
With the introduction of the prenuptial agreement divorcing couples justly take back what was rightfully theirs from the very start and get the chance to divide whatever profit they had within the marriage faster and without the need to file a case against each other. Other great benefits the agreement offer couples include:
Prenuptial agreements will have to be discussed openly, honestly and candidly, though, so as not to create any feeling of mistrust. Both parties should understand its real aim too to make them appreciate it more. And, upon agreeing to enter into the agreement, make sure to get the help of a family lawyer who understands well what needs to be included and specified in the agreement.