A premarital agreement is a contract which people who are about to marry one another enter into: it is an agreement that clearly indicates how property and assets ought to be distributed in case of divorce, legal separation, or death. Though some may consider this to be an unromantic gesture, premarital agreements can help to provide spouses with a measure of security in their relationship, knowing that their futures are protected.
Pre-marital, prenuptial, and ante-nuptial agreements have long been a practice in the US. It was strongly enforced in 1848 through the Married Women’s Property Act. It was this act that gave women who entered into marriage their identity and rights back, since before this, a married woman’s legal existence was recognized only as extensions of her husband’s. This was due to the legal policy called coverture, a law that relinquished a woman’s legal rights upon marriage to her husband. Because of coverture, a married woman lost any right to own, sell, or transfer property, enter into contracts, earn a salary, or get an education without the consent of her husband and, even if her husband allowed her to work, the policy obliged her to surrender her earnings to him. Thus, in the event of divorce, she stood the chance of losing all her property to her husband.
History shows all the more how important a prenuptial agreement is. For both parties to appreciate its real value, though, it has to be talked about long before engagement, as openly and candidly as possible and with the help of qualified divorce attorneys who will make sure that both of your rights and interests are well protected. The process of divorce may become complicated without the guidance of someone who understands family or divorce law. The following are just some of the benefits this type of agreement can confer:
- preservation of family ties and inheritance;
- guaranteed protection of the children’s financial security earned from an earlier marriage;
- protection over personal and business assets made prior to marriage
- eliminates the need for lengthy and expensive asset and finance court settlements in case of divorce.