Who needs a Premarital Agreement

Posted over 5 years ago. Applies to Pennsylvania, 1 helpful vote



You have children and/or grandchildren from a prior marriage or relationship

Your premarital agreement can address what happens to your assets in the event of your death during the marriage, or to your income and property if the marriage ends in divorce. Without a premarital agreement, your spouse may receive or become entitled to property that you'd rather have go to your children or grandchildren.


You have loved ones that want to be sure that you can take care of, such as parents, a child with special needs, or other family members

If you have children, parents, or others who depend on you, you should consider whether you need to alter the default rights that your spouse would acquire upon marriage, to make sure that you have resources to care for your dependents, regardless of what happens with the marriage.


You have a valuable license or degree, or will be supporting your spouse through college or grad school, or vice versa

A spouse's rights to the other spouse's degree or license varies from state-to-state, but it is something to consider. Prenups can address a spouse's rights to the other spouse's earnings, or can protect the earnings of a spouse who earns a degree or who becomes economically dependent to help the other spouse obtain a degree or license.


You own a business, or part of a business

For business owners, the importance of a prenup can hardly be overstated. An owner's divorce can have a devastating effect on a business, its other owners, and its employees. Without a prenup, a divorce could result in a change in ownership in the business, a diversion of the business's resources to fund the buyout of an owner undergoing a divorce, unwanted publicity about the value or assets of a business, and an unproductive distraction for a business's owners and management.


You might receive an inheritance or a substantial increase in income

Even if you don't currently have wealth or special property to protect, if you expect to receive such in the form of an inheritance or an increase in income, you may want to consider a premarital agreement that addresses each spouse's rights to gifts, inheritances, and income.


One spouse is significantly wealthier than the other spouse

If one spouse is going to be economically dependent or has special or substantial assets to protect, a premarital agreement can help protect a spouse's interests.


You have assets that you want to preserve, such as real estate, investments, or retirement funds

If you have a particular asset or property that you want to protect, such as real estate, a retirement fund, or property of sentimental value, you can use a prenup to preserve your rights to such assets.


You want to try to avoid a protracted battle over assets during a divorce

Premarital agreements, while often unpopular, can provide invaluable clarity about how each spouse's property and income will be divided if a divorce occurs. Premarital agreements can limit or eliminate the extent to which spouses can get each other's property or income, which can reduce the incentive to engage in extensive litigation each other's property (or penalize it). It is not uncommon for spouses to fight over each other's property until it's gone. A premarital agreement can make this less likely.



If you fit one or more of the descriptions above, you may benefit from a premarital agreement. Prenups can be sensitive subjects, so it is usually best to talk about them well in advance of the wedding. It is also best to seek help from an attorney to prepare your premarital agreement, since there are a variety of legal requirements that they must comply with, and a multitude of pitfalls that should be avoided. A well thought-out premarital agreement can be extremely worthwhile.

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"Who Needs a Premarital Agreement?"

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