Pre-Nuptial Agreements are a hot button for engaged couples, but they can be a great way to minimize risk, exposure, and litigation in the event of a divorce or death of one of the parties. You may want to consider a Pre-Nuptial Agreement if it is a second marriage for at least one of the spouses and there are children of one or both people who will inherit instead of the spouse; if there is an existing business to be kept out of the marriage; or if the parties about to marry do not want to share their assets or the increases in value of those assets after they marry. Without a Pre-Nuptial Agreement, pre-marital assets are valued by the increase value from the date of marriage to the date of separation or distribution (whichever results in the lesser increase). However, with a Pre-Nuptial Agreement, parties can agree that separate assets do not become part of the marital estate. In addition, parties can also determine how assets in joint names will be divided in the event of divorce or death. The parties can also negotiate temporary support and alimony in the event of a separation/divorce.
A well-written Pre-Nuptial Agreement will provide a clear road map in the event of a divorce or death of a party, and hopefully minimize the inevitable stress associated with either occurrence.