If you are a bride or groom with an upcoming wedding, you most likely have realized that agreeing on and talking about money with your future spouse isn't always easy. With the stress of wedding planning, you may not even think about adding a prenuptial agreement to your to-do list.
Often, prenuptial agreements are seen as something only wealthy people need or are viewed as a way to doom your marriage before it has even begun. However, if you are marrying later in your life or have significant assets, you may want to consider a prenuptial agreement.
Prenuptial agreements outline assets and debts
Prenuptial agreements lay out how you and your soon-to-be spouse will divide property and assets in a divorce. This includes how you might divide assets in any homes you might own, your investments, trust fund accounts, inheritance assets, or whatever ownership stake you have in your own business or a family business.
After marriage, any of these assets become shared, and any increases in value will be equitably split. For example, if you have a condo in Florida and are married 10 years, your spouse will gain an equitable share of the condo's increased value over your marriage--unless a prenuptial agreement is in place.
Also, any debt your spouse accumulates during the marriage will become your debt without a prenuptial agreement.
Other factors for a prenup
Prenuptial agreements can also outline what will happen with property division if one spouse cheats on another, if one abandons the relationship, or who can keep the dog you adopted while you were engaged.
Child custody and child support
Prenuptial agreements in Pennsylvania cannot determine child custody agreements or child support. However, if you have children from a prior marriage, a prenuptial agreement can protect them by detailing how much of your assets belong to them after a divorce. Also, in Pennsylvania, prenuptial agreements can't force one spouse to agree to raise children in a certain religion.
If you feel you need a prenuptial agreement, or your fiancé asks you to sign one, consult an experienced family attorney first. You want to ensure your best interests are protected.