What is a prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement, antenuptial agreement, or premarital agreement, commonly abbreviated to prenup or prenupt, is a contract entered into prior to marriage, civil union or any other agreement prior to the main agreement by the people intending to marry or contract with each other. The content of a prenuptial agreement can vary widely, but commonly includes provisions for division of property and spousal support in the event of divorce or breakup of marriage. They may also include terms for the forfeiture of assets as a result of divorce on the grounds of adultery; further conditions of guardianship may be included as well.
Why are they useful and now becoming popular?
Let’s face it: The afterglow of that Valentine’s Day proposal often begins to dim as discussions of wedding details get started. The happy couples face potential buzz killers that are financial (how to keep reception costs down), logistical (where to seat relatives not on speaking terms) and so on.
The prenup seems so utterly unromantic — or just plain wrong — but it’s also become so right for so many these days: those keenly aware that a marriage may end up in a legal separation, divorce or death. Most prenups tackle financial issues such as real estate, division of bank accounts and potential spousal support in the case of divorce or separation. It seems that more and more couples are turning to them as a way of clarifying their rights and obligations in relation to their relationship.
“More and more of these agreements are being drafted,” says American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers President Marlene Eskind Moses. “It’s not just something for the rich and famous any longer. It’s for people that have assets and/or income that they want to protect.”
Nearly one-third of single adults say they would ask a significant other to sign a prenup, according to a February survey of 2,323 adults by Harris Interactive. Only 3% of folks with a spouse or fiancée have a prenuptial agreement, but that’s up significantly from the 1% reported when Harris conducted a similar study in April 2002.