The prenuptial agreement has been around far longer than most people are aware of. In some countries and some religions it is not just an option, it is mandatory before a marriage can be contracted. On the other hand there are countries like England that do not recognize the legality of these agreements. Family lawyers are often involved in helping to draw up these agreements in the countries where they are recognized.
In the beginning the prenuptial agreement was designed to protect the rights and property of women in the case of the death of their husbands. Today it is used mostly as a way for the wealthy to protect their wealth in the case of a marriage ending in divorce. This is am understandable consideration; marriages today quite often end in divorce.
Divorce is not the only reason why Family Lawyers help 100′s of couples create prenuptial agreements. These legal agreements are contracts that are drawn up before a marriage ceremony take place, in which both parties determine what will be done with assets and property in the case of death, divorce, or separation. We have become used to hearing about these agreements only in the case of divorce, but that is not the sole reason for creating one.
In the past most of a Family Lawyers clients for a prenuptial agreement were older couples, generally those who were marrying for the second time. Most agreements at that time were to protect assets from the first marriage for the children of the first marriage. This ensured that should one parent die, the children of that parent from a previous marriage would still be taken care of, not left to the mercy of the surviving step-parent. However, today many people are waiting until later in life to get married for the first time, so Family Lawyers have seen a shift in the clients requesting their help in creating one of these legal agreements.
There is a growing feeling that prenuptial agreements show a lack of trust between people intending to marry. This is not necessarily true, many people have their lawyers draw up a these legal agreement to avoid disagreements and long court cases in the event that the marriage doesn’t work out. Judges do not always uphold the agreements.
In most cases it is best for each party in the prenuptial agreement to have their own separate lawyer. This prevents problems in the case of divorce or death of one of the spouses. It is also a good idea to draw up the agreement as soon as possible after you decide to wed. Waiting until days before the marriage is more likely to cause issues should a judge have to decide whether to honor the agreement. If you are considering having a prenuptial agreement drawn up by your lawyer, talk to him or her about the kinds of things that are usually included in one.