Married couples living in the Pennsylvania and New Jersey areas know that not all marital unions are for a lifetime. Couples who wish to protect themselves financially against the possibility of divorce may agree to a prenuptial agreement. This document identifies the property and debt of each partner before the marriage. It also designates the possessions that will remain independent to each spouse.
Who needs a prenup?
Prenuptial agreements are often associated with wealthy individuals who want to protect personal assets from a marriage. However, more people of modest financial means are using prenups to protect property from divorce proceedings. Common reasons for prenups include:
- Ensuring the passing of property onto children from a previous marriage
- Clarifying each spouse’s financial rights
- Preventing the potential for a messy divorce
- Debt protection
Alternative to a prenup
Not all couples decide on creating a prenuptial agreement. One alternative for a spouse who does not want to enter into a prenuptial agreement is creating an irrevocable trust.
An irrevocable trust is identified legally as a separate entity from the property owner. The trust becomes the legal owner of any property designated to it. A person who starts an irrevocable trust before entering a marriage will enjoy access to their property. However, they will maintain legal ownership of any property that becomes part of an irrevocable trust. This solution can shield the property made part of the irrevocable trust from the fallout of a marriage that does not end well.
Protecting finances during and after marriage
Most people hope for a lifelong union when they enter into a marriage, but maintaining peace of mind regarding finances and enjoying a successful relationship are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Individuals with questions regarding prenuptial agreements or alternatives may benefit from a consultation with a family law attorney.