Prenuptial Agreements

Have you always been surprised by the talks of prenuptial agreements between celebrities? In this article we tell you why, it may become important for you to consider one if you are getting married.
The concept of a couple signing a prenuptial agreement is not a new one. In fact prenuptial agreements have been around for several centuries now. In Judaism, the ketubah is a necessary document to be signed before marriage that details out the duties of a husband to provide for and support his wife during their marriage and in case of a divorce or death. In the United States, in the nineteenth century, it was deemed necessary that these agreements be signed because before the Married Women's Property Act of 1848, in case of death or divorce of spouse, a woman could stand to lose everything she owned. Today these agreements support the rights of both parties involved and though these agreements are criticized for being unromantic, the fact remains that these contracts can ease a lot of pain in case the marriage ends badly.

Prenuptial Agreements: An Overview

So what is a prenuptial agreement? Prenuptial agreements which are commonly referred to as prenups are agreements that many couples who are about to get married enter into. These agreements tend to contain terms and conditions about division of property and income in case the couple decides to get a divorce. A couple may decide to sign a prenuptial agreement for a variety of reasons like, to protect one's assets, property, business shares, inheritance, etc. In case you have kids from an earlier marriage, a prenuptial agreement ensures that the kids are not left in the cold without any inheritance of any sort. In cases where one of the people is much wealthier than the other, a prenup can be a way of protecting the person's interests.

The main constituent features of a prenuptial agreement generally are division of property, ownership of assets, inheritance, maintenance to spouse on breakdown of marriage, rights regarding education of kids, if any. There are also many things that can never be a part of the terms and conditions of such agreements. This includes the maintenance that needs to be provided for children, child custody, ownership of matrimonial house, the right to sell or rent out matrimonial house.

Sample Prenuptial Document

These are legal documents that need to be drafted by a legal counsel. If you have been searching high and low for a template for such an agreement, it would be a good idea to abort the hunt as a template is not useful for your purpose. A prenuptial agreement needs to be drafted according to the conditions deemed necessary by the parties involved. Referring to a prenuptial agreement sample will give you an idea as to how such an agreement is drafted.

(Name of Husband) hereafter known as Prospective Husband, and (Name of Wife), hereafter known as Prospective Wife, as per this agreement signed on the Date of Month of Year agree to the following terms and conditions.
  • This agreement is being drafted to protect the rights of both parties involved where individual income, and property is concerned, if and when they get married. This agreement also proposes to protect any property acquired during the marriage.
  • Both the parties, that is the Prospective Husband and Prospective Wife, have disclosed their financial property and liabilities and attached with this agreement, their financial statement.
  • Both the parties while signing this agreement waive their rights with regards to the following matters.
    • Sharing in each other's estate upon death.
    • Maintenance to be paid by spouse.
    • Sharing of increased value of properties owned individually.
    • Sharing in pension, or retirement accounts of each other.
    • Division of individual properties owned now or acquired later.
  • Both parties agree that the waiving of rights does not hold forth in certain cases which will be detailed in the documents attached.
  • Both the parties are represented by separate lawyers of their own choosing.
  • Both parties agree that the prenuptial agreement can be modified only in writing in the presence of both the Prospective Husband and the Prospective Wife.
  • In case a provision is contrary to applicable law, then only that provision will be reworked and the rest of the agreement will remain valid.
  • This agreement is in accordance with the laws of Name of State and any disagreement will be resolved in a court of law of that state.
  • This agreement is enforced as soon as the Prospective Husband and Prospective Wife solemnize their marriage.
I have read the agreement and understand and agree to all the conditions. I submit to the execution of the agreement.

Signature of Prospective Husband: ________________
Signature of Prospective Wife: ________________

While such agreements can help in preservation of family ties or inheritance, they can also cause resentment among spouses. It can be considered a lack of trust and can cast doubts on the institution of marriage and the relationship. At the same time it ensures that the well-being of everyone concerned is protected.
By Tulika Nair
Published: 10/20/2010
Bouquets and Brickbats