Premarital (also known as prenuptial) agreements are legally binding contracts that couples can create before their marriage. These agreements preemptively address what happens to property, debt, spousal support, and estate plans should the marriage end. In our experience, people have misconceptions and misgivings regarding premarital agreements. This leads to marriages and divorces where people have failed to explore a legal tool that could have significantly protected their wealth.
The subject of a premarital agreement may seem sensitive and potentially volatile, as you are essentially discussing the possibility of a divorce before marriage even begins. However, if you have wealth, complex assets, or have previously been divorced, then it is an incredibly sensible and intelligent choice in order to protect your interests.
Why Are Premarital Agreements a Good Idea?
In the event of a divorce, the existence of a prenuptial agreement creates certainty, protects wealth, and saves the time and expense of a contentious legal battle over community property. It does so by being a legally enforceable contract. If the marriage ends, then either party can present the contract to the court to enter orders that enforce the specific terms of the contract.
Some of the advantages that premarital agreements carry include:
- Protecting Wealth: An agreement can specify who walks away with what property if the marriage ends. This is in contrast to the “community property” system that exists in the absence of an agreement. Community property gives each spouse an equal stake in all property acquired during the marriage. A premarital agreement preempts community property laws and gives the couple flexibility.
- Providing Certain Alimony: Instead of leaving alimony as a contested issue, the couple can preemptively agree to alimony payments, or to waive alimony.
- Estate Planning: When one or both spouses have children from previous marriages, it is essential to make plans that protect the inheritance rights of those older children. A premarital agreement can help protect your wealth and your children’s inheritances.
- Creating Certainty: So long as an agreement complies with state laws governing premarital agreements, there is little either spouse can do to invalidate it. This saves the turmoil of a prolonged divorce proceeding, the expenses of experts and attorneys, and the risks of asking a judge to decide property and alimony issues.
Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. is Here for You
A premarital agreement protects your wealth. If you have wealth and are planning to get married, it is in your financial interest to consult with an attorney about a premarital agreement. At Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman, L.L.P., our experienced attorneys routinely represent clients in high net worth divorces. We understand the value of a clear, enforceable prenuptial agreement and how it can preemptively help you avoid a costly divorce should your marriage end. Let us advise you. Call Viloria, Oliphant, Oster & Aman L.L.P. today at (775) 227-2280 to schedule a free case consultation regarding your family law matter or contact our office through our website.