You may want to suggest a Pennsylvania prenuptial agreement (or prenup) to a family member or friend who recently got engaged when you’ve noticed some red-flags about their soon to be spouse. This is a sensitive issue. If you’ve already noticed red flags about your loved one’s or friend’s fiance(e), such as controlling behaviors or disputes about money, broach this topic with them carefully.
An engagement should be a happy occasion but when we hear the words “speak now or forever hold your peace” there have been times when some of us wish we had spoken up and told our friend or loved one that we had reservations about their soon to be spouse. A prenuptial agreement can help to financially protect your family member or friend in the event of a later divorce. A prenuptial agreement can also assist in ending a marriage more quickly than proceeding through the courts without an agreement.
A Pennsylvania prenuptial agreement is intended to outline the division of assets and debts between spouses in the event of a divorce. While no one enters into an engagement or marriage thinking that it may fail a prenup allows a person to protect certain assets from the process of equitable distribution should a couple divorce. Alternatively, a prenup can also outline how premarital debts such as student loans or credit card bills will be paid in the event of a divorce. Those who are marrying for a second or third time might also want to make sure that certain assets or personal belongings are passed on to the children or grandchildren of a previous marriage rather than to their future spouse. Without an agreement state laws will determine how assets and debts are divided between divorcing spouses.
All of this is to say that the more your friend or loved one knows about a prenuptial agreement the less they may be intimidated by one and the more likely they may be to speak to an attorney and their future spouse about the possibility of entering into a prenup. Informing your friend about prenuptial agreements and approaching the topic out of concern for their future financial stability as opposed to attacking their fiance(e) is one good strategy.
Of course your concerns for your loved one are not solely for their future finances or for their ability to end a future marriage quickly in the event that it should fail. In a recent New York Times article, psychotherapist Dr. Jordana Jacobs suggests that if you must speak up, that you do so once and make it count. “Make sure they know that it is coming from love, that you feel you would not be a good friend or family member if you did not share your concern.”
It is important to note that the validity and enforceability of any prenup is only determined when it comes into question in either a divorce or estate proceeding (i.e. upon the death of one of the spouses). This is why the writing of a prenuptial agreement must be done by an attorney who has significant experience in this area. A family law attorney experienced in drafting prenuptial agreements will know what can and cannot be included in a prenup and the requirements to make it valid. You don’t have to wonder whether your rights and best interests are being looked out for during the drafting and execution of a prenuptial agreement when you’re working with an experienced prenup lawyer.
Contact our office today to schedule an appointment to speak with one of our experienced Pennsylvania prenuptial agreement attorneys. Consultations can be done over the phone or in person at one of our many office locations; downtown Pittsburgh, Cranberry Township, Clearfield, and Canonsburg.