Marital agreements are agreements that allocate division of assets or other obligations arising from the marriage that are entered into before or during the marriage, prior to separation. Some may view these types of arrangements negatively in that they allow for the chance of a separation before it even happens. However, in many situations, marital agreements can be used to protect assets, and can determine the rights of each party without the tensions and frustrations that accompany a divorce.
Pre-Marital agreements, known more familiarly as “prenuptials,” are established before marriage. Depending on the financial or familial circumstances for one or both spouses, these agreements pre-emptively define and allocate certain assets that were accrued prior to the marriage. Often times if one person has substantial debt, if both parties own “real” property (i.e. real estate), or if one or both parties have children, there is a desire to address these contingencies before there are other issues in the relationship.
As lawyers, our underlying goal in any divorce case, aside from the nuts and bolts work of addressing assets/debt, support, and any child-related issues, is to make a difficult process as painless and expedient as possible, working in the best interest of our client. Sometimes this is achieved through a discussion before the marriage begins as to how best to protect our clients with a prenup. One of the most important things to do is become informed by talking with those who can help.