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Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements
A prenuptial agreement, also known as an antenuptial agreement or premarital agreement, is a contract entered into in anticipation of marriage. Premarital agreements often delineate the division of assets and debts and amount of support, if any, each party will receive in the event of divorce or death. A postnuptial agreement similarly outlines the division of assets in the event of a divorce, but unlike a prenuptial agreement, which is entered into before marriage, a postnuptial agreement is entered into after the parties are already married.
The Value Of A Prenuptial Agreement
Under the Pennsylvania Divorce Code, all marital property is subject to equitable distribution. Marital property includes, among other things, property acquired during marriage, the increase in value of any property acquired before marriage, the increase in value of any gift from a third party, and the increase in value of any inheritance. A common misconception is that, in Pennsylvania, marital property is automatically divided 50/50. The Court, based on a series of economic factors, has wide discretion in percentage division.
Without a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the division of marital property is subject to the discretion of the court within the guidelines of the law. Spouses may want to avoid the risk of a major loss of assets or income in the event of a divorce. Spouses may also want to protect certain assets that are important to them or their family, particularly inheritances, family businesses, and family trusts. In addition to equitable distribution, but for a prenuptial agreement, a spouse can initiate a claim for temporary spousal support, alimony and counsel fees from the other party. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can dictate the terms of any such payments.
Tailored Strategy For Protecting Your Interests
Marriage, itself, is a contract, and it involves many financial decisions along the way. As one of the prominent family law firms in Pittsburgh, Frank, Gale, Bails, Murcko & Pocrass, P.C. has years of experience in counseling and assisting clients in managing financial decisions. The firm has drafted countless prenuptial and postnuptial agreements which have protected clients in subsequent divorce proceedings. By gaining an understanding of your circumstances, we can tailor an approach that best fits your needs.