Premarital Agreements

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Locate a Local Family Lawyer

Most Common Family Law Issues:

What are Premarital Agreements?

Premarital agreements are written contracts that are created by two persons who are planning to get married.  They are also known as “prenuptial agreements”, “prenuptial contracts”, or simply, “prenups”.  They allow the parties to clearly identify their own assets and debts, so that it will be easier to classify communal property that the couple acquires during marriage. 

While many feel that premarital agreements can undermine the “romantic” aspects of marriage, premarital agreements may sometimes be considered a display of trust and openness for between the partners.  Premarital agreements are not really used in anticipation of divorce or separation in the future; instead, they are usually used in situations where one partner has specific assets or property that need to be identified for legal purposes (such as a business operation).

What is Typically Contained in Premarital Agreements?

The provisions contained in a premarital agreement will depend on two major aspects.  First, the state laws where the couple is located in may affect the outcome of a premarital agreement.  State laws can vary regarding the requirements and enforceability of premarital agreements, especially where the state enforces community property principles.

Secondly, it’s largely up to the couple to address important legal issues in the premarital agreement.  This will of course depend on the financial and legal background of each partner.  Generally speaking, the following issues are commonly addressed through the use of a written, signed premarital agreement:

In order to be valid, the agreement should be put in writing, signed by both partners, and submitted to the court for approval.  This will help prevent confusion in the future, and courts are more likely to enforce written agreements as opposed to oral agreements.  Also, premarital agreements won’t be enforceable if they contain any provisions that are illegal or involve illegal conduct.

Can Premarital Agreements be Changed After They Are Signed?

In most cases, yes.  A premarital agreement can often be amended, so long as both parties approve the changes and indicate their willingness to adopt the new changes.  This can be done by rewriting and resigning the new contract.  In general, the parties may need to resubmit the amended agreement to the court, so that the changed version becomes legally enforceable.   

What are Some Advantages of Premarital Agreements?

As mentioned, there can be several advantages of using a premarital agreement, in spite of the negative aspects associated with them.  Some benefits of prenuptial agreements may include:

Thus, one of the main reasons to use a premarital agreement is to avoid litigation and court costs in the future.  Therefore, it’s usually necessary to have a lawyer draft and review the agreement so that it fulfills the requirements of local and state laws. 

Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with a Premarital Agreement?

Premarital agreements can be very helpful, but they need to be carefully written in order to be enforceable.  If you need assistance with a premarital agreement, it’s in your best interests to hire a family lawyer for advice and guidance during the process.  Your attorney can help review the documents for accuracy.  Also, if you need to file a lawsuit involving a premarital agreement, an experienced lawyer will be able to represent you in court. 

Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 08-02-2012 10:28 AM PDT

Find the Right Lawyer Now

Did you find this article informative?

Link to this page

Law Library Disclaimer

Premarital Agreements, premarital,prenuptial,agreement,marriage,married,property,lawyer,attorney,law,family