March 13th, 2024

Benefits of a Prenuptial Agreement in Pennsylvania

Although addressing the potential end of your marriage before it begins may seem counterintuitive, a prenuptial agreement offers benefits that can protect your interests. Our family law attorneys at Gross McGinley, LLP, are well-versed in the benefits of creating a prenuptial agreement in Pennsylvania and help couples understand how it can make divorce and equitable distribution issues less contentious.

Asset Protection & Straightforward Property Division

Pennsylvania is an equitable distribution state. This means that in a divorce all property and assets acquired during the marriage are marital property. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement to equitably divide that property, a family law judge ultimately determines the fair division of property according to the specific circumstances in each divorce case. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement gives couples more control over property division, instead of going before a judge whose determination may not align with their wishes when they cannot reach an agreement.

If you’re entering a marriage with significant assets or an inheritance, a prenuptial agreement allows you to specify those assets as separate property. This excludes pre-marital assets such as investments, real estate, and other valuable property from division in the event of a divorce in Pennsylvania.

Debt Allocation

A prenuptial agreement also enables you to identify debts acquired before and during the marriage and how they should be allocated between the parties. Determining how debts will be divided ahead of time can prevent one spouse from taking on the burden of another’s existing liabilities if they get divorced.

Protecting Family Heirlooms and Other Items

Family heirlooms and other items with personal or emotional significance may also be divided in a divorce. Including them in a prenuptial agreement ensures these belongings stay with the individual or family during a divorce.

Safeguarding Business Interests

If you own a business, it’s important to protect your company from being affected or divided in divorce proceedings. A prenuptial agreement helps keep your business intact and ensures the non-owning spouse doesn’t gain a share of it in a divorce.

Preserving Inheritance Rights

Prenuptial agreements are common in relationships where one or both spouses already have children. A prenuptial agreement can help make estate planning easier, safeguard your children’s inheritance rights, and ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

Alimony and Spousal Support

The terms of spousal support and alimony also can be outlined in a prenuptial agreement in Pennsylvania. The Parties can either specifically waive the obligation to pay spousal support and alimony or the Parties can specify the terms of any financial support, including the amount and duration of payments. Establishing these terms can give both parties peace of mind.

Communication and Clarity

Drafting a prenuptial agreement promotes honest communication between partners, which ultimately can make a relationship stronger. During the drafting stage, the Parties must make a full and fair disclosure of their respective assets, incomes and debts. This open communication helps to establish expectations about finances, money management, and the Parties responsibilities in the event of a divorce and can help to avoid conflict down the road. If you’re already married and considering a divorce, a postnuptial agreement can be an effective way to keep lines of communication open and settle financial issues in a civil manner.

Time and Cost Savings

Divorce can be a financially and emotionally draining experience. Specifying the terms of equitable distribution in the event of divorce in a prenuptial agreement can help simplify the process, which in turn can save time and money. If you’re considering a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, it’s crucial to have an experienced family law attorney help you draft it. This ensures all relevant matters are addressed and the terms of the agreement fall within the parameters of Pennsylvania law.

How a Prenuptial Agreement Attorney Can Help

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are not one size fits all. Our team tailors your prenuptial agreement to your specific circumstances and helps you understand how it could affect your financial responsibilities, property rights, and other legal matters in the event of divorce. We also understand that circumstances change, so it’s important to include provisions that address events such as the birth of a child or grandchild and significant changes in income.

Generally, Pennsylvania courts uphold prenuptial agreements, unless there’s fraud, duress, or significant misrepresentation. A family lawyer knows how to use the proper legal language to avoid ambiguity and make the terms of the agreement clear and legally enforceable.

Contact a Family Law Attorney in Pennsylvania

Prenuptial agreements often are complex. Whether you need assistance with drafting a prenuptial agreement, child custody matters, divorce, or other family law issues, our experienced, compassionate team at Gross McGinley, LLP, is here for you. For more than 40 years, we’ve offered exceptional legal representation and forward-thinking solutions to clients in Pennsylvania. We provide a wide range of legal services, including criminal defense, family law, business law, litigation, estate planning, business and employment law, real estate, and more.

To schedule a consultation with a prenuptial agreement attorney, contact us or call 610-820-5450.

The content found in this resource is for informational reference use only and is not considered legal advice. Laws at all levels of government change frequently and the information found here may be or become outdated. It is recommended to consult your attorney for the most up-to-date information regarding current laws and legal matters.