Pre-Marital Agreements

By Lee A. Schwartz, Attorney at Law

Published: July 17, 2004

A Pre Marital or Pre-Nuptial Agreement is a contract between a man and a woman who plan to get married. The purpose of the agreement is to protect assets or income of the parties. Generally, couples will sign such an Agreement when one or both of the parties have substantial assets, which have been accumulated before the marriage.

Without such an Agreement, assets which are brought into the marriage are generally not marital assets, but can acquire a marital “tint” during the marriage. Also, the increase in value of non-marital assets is a marital assets. For example, lets presume that Wife owns a business worth $150,000 at the date of marriage and there is no Agreement. Lets say that the parties remain married for 15 years and at the date of divorce, the business is worth $2,000,000. The increase in value of the business ($1,850,000) is a marital asset, even if the Husband never worked in the business! With a properly drafted Agreement, the increase in value of the business could have remained Wife’s sole property.

Such an Agreement should only be drafted by a competent family lawyer.

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