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Marriage and cohabitation contracts are now an accepted and normal part of the marriage process, especially when one or both partners have a great deal of property or when one or both partners have been married before. While nobody wants to think of a new relationship or marriage ending in divorce, it is important to think of your future. Being wise and preparing for the possibility that your marriage may end will not bring about its end, but having a marriage or cohabitation agreement in place if anything goes wrong may save you a great deal of trouble and money if it does.
A marriage contract is also called prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. It is a domestic contract or agreement entered into prior to a marriage/relationship breakdown. A marriage contract is a voluntary agreement between two parties who are planning to marry or are already married, which sets out how certain matters will be dealt with should the marriage break down. This type of agreement is most often entered into prior to the marriage (referred to as a prenuptial agreement or ‘prenup’) and is a good idea for couples who want to outline, in advance, what will happen to each partner’s assets and finances in the event of a divorce.
Marriage contracts should be accompanied by full financial disclosure. Marriage contracts that are not accompanied by full financial disclosure may encounter enforceability issues. Similarly, if an agreement is not reasonable, or was not negotiated fairly, it may not be enforceable. That is why it is important that you seek the advice of a family law lawyer when contemplating drafting a marriage contract.
Among the few matters that cannot be included in a marriage contract are child custody and access. Those are left up to the court. You may want to write into the contract that the value of a home you owned before you married will be deducted from its final worth when you separate or divorce. Only any increase or decrease in the value of your matrimonial home (where you live after you marry) will be added to the property available to split after a marriage break-up. Be aware family gifts or cash you put towards a shared home are usually divided equally.
There are several different types of agreements related to marriage. The main contract is the marriage contract itself, which is your agreement to marry your spouse.
Other agreements that married persons may enter into include:
Prenuptial agreements can be beneficial for both parties, since they solidify the terms of a relationship and marriage before problems arise. But every prenup should get a thorough review by an attorney before they’re signed, since the cost of critical errors in the document could cost one or both of the parties later. Find a local family law attorney today for some peace of mind.
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