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Whether for marriage or remarriage, prepare with a prenup

This article looks at what a prenuptial agreement can and cannot do and why it is especially important during a remarriage.

Everybody who gets married – whether it’s their first, second or even third marriage – intends for it to last forever. With divorce rates so high, however, most people nowadays know that “til death do us part” may be more of an aspiration rather than a guarantee. As such, being prepared for all eventualities, including divorce, isn’t just a reflection of one’s faith in a marriage, it is simply good practical sense. While prenuptial agreements were once thought of as a sign of a lack of commitment, today, according to US News & World Report, they are commonly being treated as an important step that any prudent couple should take prior to their wedding day.

What’s a prenup good for?

It is perhaps helpful to think of a prenuptial agreement as being less about a marriage and being more of an estate planning tool. A prenuptial agreement can cover a vast amount of territory, including how assets are to be divided if a marriage ends and how child-rearing duties are to be taken on by each parent. If a divorce does happen, then a prenuptial agreement can make the process faster and less painful for both parties.

There are limits to what a prenuptial agreement can do, however. For one, the terms of a prenuptial agreement must comply with state law. That also means that, generally speaking, a prenuptial agreement cannot deal with child support. Additionally, both parties to a prenuptial agreement must have signed such an agreement willingly and with full knowledge of what they were signing. In other words, if a spouse was pressured into signing the agreement or if it later turns out that some assets had not been fully disclosed then the agreement as a whole may be considered invalid and unenforceable.

Prenups for remarriage

As CNBC points out, a prenuptial agreement is particularly useful for people who are remarrying. Fortunately, people who have already been through a divorce tend to be more pragmatic about the future compared to those on their first marriages and are therefore often more open to a prenuptial agreement.

A prenuptial agreement for those who are remarrying is especially important if they have children from a previous marriage. A prenuptial agreement can protect the property rights and financial interests of those children in case the new marriage ends in divorce or death. By having such an agreement in place, those first children also benefit from being given tangible proof that their interests are still paramount in their parent’s mind.

Family law

When it comes to a prenuptial agreement, there is no such thing as too much preparation. To make sure an agreement will ultimately hold up in court it is extremely important to talk to an experienced family law attorney beforehand. A qualified attorney will be able to talk couples through the process of drafting a prenuptial agreement so that they can have the peace of mind they need when entering into their new marriage.

J. Emmette Pilgreen IV
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