Monday, April 25, 2011

Question of the Week - Pre and Postnuptial Agreements

As we approach the 21st century Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton did Kate have a problem with signing a Prenuptial Agreement?

Per Girly Chat "W omen's Issues, Chat and More: the media is speculating whether the young royal couple should be drawing up a royal prenup; although prenuptial agreements are common in the United States, they are not as common in the UK, and were only recently recognized by UK law. However, given the royal family’s history of past marriages, is a royal prenup advisable in today’s world? to read more... " Girly Chat!...

The matter of formalizing financial and legal matters through a prenuptial contract or premarital agreement is a sensitive one for brides and grooms, many of whom consider doing so a crass form of hedging bets on the longevity of the marriage.

It is certainly an issue that needs to be discussed early in the relationship-and not something you sprint on your parnter-to-be right before ceremony.

* What is a premarital agreement? Basically a premarital agreement is a contract between two people that defines the rights and benefits that will exist during the marriage and after, in the event of divorce. It can expand or limit a person's right to property, life insurance benefits, or support payments in the event of death or divorce. Usually it addresses the rights to property that each brings to the marriage, retirement plan assets, and how money accumulated before the marriage will be distributed in the event of death or divorce. Without a premarital agreement state laws define the rights and benefits of marriage. If the couple does not want to rely on state laws to determine their legal and fiscal fate, the premarital agreement allows them to make their own rules.

* When is a prenuptial agreement used? Although anyone can have a premarital agreement, it is most often used when the bride or the groom or both bring assets to the marriage that they want to protect in the vent of divorce or death. This is particularly true for people marrying for the second or third time who want to make sure that certain assets are passed on to their children from a previous marriage.

* What is covered in a prenup? What a prenuptial contract does not cover is child custody and support. The courts will disregard the contract on this point and make a decision that is considered in the best interest of the child. The courts will also disregard premarital agreement that, in essence, leaves one person destitute.

* What is a postnuptial contract? A postnupital contract is one made after a couple is married and can include the same categories of consideration, usually having to do with property and money, in a prenuptial contract. The contract is usually drawn if the couple realizes that children from a previous marriage or other family members would be unprotected in the case of divorce or death.

* What is meant by disclosure? Because one person is usually giving something up by agreeing to a prenuptial contract, both the bride and the groom must fully disclose their finances to one another in advance. Most states require that the premarital agreement include separate asset listings that describe and show the values of each person's assets. If the couple doesn't do this, each is preventing the other from knowing what he or she is losing by signing the contract-and this may constitute fraud, which makes the agreement unenforceable. Because of this, and to ensure that the agreement is written correctly and legally, it is a good idea for the bride and the groom to seek the advice of each one's respective lawyers before entering into the agreement.

* What is the form of the agreement? A prenuptial contractor premarital agreement must be in writing to be legally binding It provides evidence of the terms of the agreement and demonstrates that both people understand and agree to the terms. It is generally legally binding as long as it is entered into voluntarily and without fraud and as long as it is reasonable and fair. It is not binding if a person in unfairly induced to sign the agreement or it coerced under excessive emotional pressure.

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