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Negotiations and Agreeents

Prenuptial Agreements

Many people my look at prenuptial agreements as an act of bad faith in a persons marriage. On the contrary prenuptial agreements can really help a couple better understand one another and their financial goals at the start of their marriage. Not only will the couple better understand one another's financial and child related goals, but they will find out if their goals are aligned or not prior to marriage rather than after. Likewise it also helps the couple understand what they are getting into legally and the associated consequences of marriage. Finally, prenuptial agreements put you and your spouse in charge allowing you to create your own custom agreed upon rules that you both will follow should you end up travelling down the path of divorce that you never intended on in the first place. When it comes down to it, those that have a prenuptial agreement prior to divorce may often have an easier and shorter divorce process than those who do not. That's because a lot of the big or tough decisions and agreements were made at a time when you were calm and could make rational decisions that were in good faith. This is of course when both parties are on board and both have input into the creation of and the decisions made around the terms of the agreement.

If instead one party writes the agreement and has the other sign it, perhaps under pressure, the agreement will unlikely be seen as fair, be dismissed and consequently any benefits provided by the prenuptial agreement will have been squandered. So if you want to get a prenuptial agreement its best that both you and your partner contribute to this process and best that it get done right the first time. Some things that should be included in a prenuptial agreement include:

  • Terms for assessment and division of family property
  • Spousal support obligations
  • Preferences for how you will both handle disputes should they come up.

Who should get a prenuptial agreement?

Prenuptial agreements can work for anyone. However, they become particularly important in second or subsequent marriages when existing legal and financial obligations are already present. For example if you already have child and or spousal support payments to make from a separation agreement of a previous marriage. Prenuptial agreements ensure that previous obligations are met and both the first and second family benefit fairly from the estate.

Likewise prenups are often common to have when significant assets are involved in the marriage such as a great deal of shares in a company, large investments or property investments. Without a prenuptial agreement any interest or appreciation in value of assets like shares or homes will be divided equally as part of the marital estate. Even if that asset is your home that you both live in. If you invested more into the home than your partner you may want to have a prenuptial agreement with terms that allow unequal division of the home to reflect your larger contribution.

Aside from assets if you make significantly more or less money than your spouse you may want to protect your financial interests and make sure that the terms of the agreement reflect these interests.

Although these are often common reasons why people get a prenuptial agreement, lack of any of the above reasons doesn't mean you shouldn't get a prenuptial agreement. We can help you go into your marriage prepared and avoid unnecessary costs, stress and litigation in a future that may never exist.


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