Whether Pennsylvania couples recognize it or not, marriages are not only made up of love, and the happily-ever-after feeling does not always last forever. In addition to love, a great portion of marital bliss depends on financial stability and the peace of mind of both spouses. Regardless of the value of assets brought into the marriage or that which is expected to be accumulated during the marriage, a properly drafted prenuptial agreement could cover all eventualities.
Studies have shown that financial disputes are the cause of a significant percentage of failed marriages. Couples that have open discussions about their pre-marital finances and the expectations of each during the marriage are likely to avoid financial disputes later. Each marriage is unique, but aspects that may be taken into consideration may include decisions about keeping separate accounts for each spouse and a joint account for the household. This also covers instances where a spouse receives, or anticipates, an inheritance that is better kept separate.
Other aspects that may be addressed include one spouse that has child care responsibilities from a previous marriage, or an elderly parent that is taken care of by one of the spouses. These types of commitments from only one spouse are known to create contention after some years, and creating rules for these situations in a prenuptial agreement may avoid disputes. Without specifying lump sums or details, an experienced family law attorney will be able to handle situations that may occur in the future, such as one or both spouses building a successful business that was not anticipated prior to the marriage.
An experienced Pennsylvania attorney will draft a prenuptial agreement that will be legal and hold up in court in the unfortunate event of a divorce. Each spouse is required to have a legal representative when such an agreement is signed, and one attorney can draft the agreement for the approval of the other spouse's attorney before it is presented to the family court. Couples that failed to sign a prenuptial agreement before they got married, and now feel the need to protect their assets, may find comfort in knowing that a postnuptial agreement may be signed after the date of marriage.
Source: USA Today, "Prenups: Not just for the wealthy", Elizabeth Renter, Dec. 28, 2014