Legal Aspects of Getting Married

A prenuptial agreement sets out the rules that will cover property rights if the marriage ends. The prenuptial agreements are sometimes called premarital, antenuptial or prenup agreements.
A prenuptial agreement is entered into before marriage and it protects each person’s interest in his or her own property and defines each person’s rights to the property of the other person if they divorce or one of them dies. You may be considering a prenuptial agreement if you are about to enter into marriage. Deciding to have a prenuptial agreement can be looked at as an opportunity to communicate and make plans with your partner, rather than a hostile or adverse situation.
The following are some of the benefits of having a prenuptial agreement:
· Allows individuals to determine in advance who will keep specific assets
· Can be used to guarantee the financially less secure partner a fair share of assets
· Can be used to compensate a partner for his or her role as a caretaker
· Allows the financially more secure party to limit financial loss in the event of a divorce
· Discloses expectations of the relationship, both financial and personal
· Allows couples to be open with one another about their finances
· Allows each partner to protect separate property so that it won’t be considered a combined or joint asset if the relationship ends
· Allows each partner to keep their individual debts so that one partner will not be responsible for the debts of the other partner if the relationship terminates
· Can provide for children from a prior marriage
· Avoid legal battles over property issues in the event the relationship ends

If you and your partner decide to have a prenuptial agreement, you will want to have a lawyer help you draft your agreement so that it follows the laws for your state and will hold up in court. It is important that each of you have a lawyer so that each person will have their interests represented without conflicts of interest.
Some questions that you may want to ask your lawyer:
· What should be covered in the prenuptial agreement?
· What are the consequences of our agreement in the event of a divorce or death?
· How do prenuptial agreements differ from a marital settlement agreement and separation agreements in a divorce?

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