Pre-Nup? I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Pre-Nup!
Okay, before you become completely appalled that I would even write about such a topic in the annual Bridal Issue let’s take this one step at a time.
We’ll start with a quiz:
By Shana A. Pinter, Esq.
1) What do you know about pre-nup agreements?
a. Just what I’ve heard about on TV.
c. Enough to know that I should have had one before I married by first husband/wife.
2) Do you think they are just for the rich and famous?
c. Of course, nothing I have is even worth protecting … although I did work for about 10 years prior to getting married and scrimped and saved to buy the house we’re about to buy with my money and none of his/her funds are going towards the down payment …
3) What do you know about ante-nup agreements?
a. Ante-what agreements?
b. A little (I work at a law firm).
c. Enough to know that I should have had one during my marriage to my second husband/wife.
In this article I attempt to dispel the myths of pre-nuptial agreements, explain their advantages, and how such an agreement is beneficial. I also explain what an ante-nuptial agreement is and their benefits as well.
As discussed in previous articles (found on my website www.pinterlawonline.com), property acquired prior to marriage is generally considered pre-marital. However, a pre-nup puts the non-marital nature of such property in black and white and excludes it from division therefore saving you legal fees and time. Also, due to space constraints, this article is only an elementary discussion of pre-nups and ante-nups. For further and more in depth discussion, please visit my blog at www.pinterlawonline.com.
A pre-nuptial, or “pre-nup” as it’s commonly referred to, is a legally binding contract between two expectant spouses which is executed prior to marriage. It describes what property is owned by whom, that each person has full knowledge of the assets of the other person, and how that property should be divided (i.e., excluded) in the event of
Myth One: Getting a pre-nup means that we expect to end up getting a divorce. FALSE
A pre-nup protects the assets that you, and possibly your family, have spent significant time accumulating. It’s all about protection. For instance, you and your family have purchased real property through a family partnership established just for that purpose. You, therefore, are an owner of, say, 5 properties. This was all accumulated during a time when you didn’t even know Mr. or Ms. Right. By entering into a pre-nup that lists those properties as non-marital and therefore excluded from any property division in the event of a divorce when Mr. or Ms. Right turns out to be Mr. or Ms. Right-for- someone-else-but-not-for-me, you are protecting them from having to be divided and therefore protecting yourself and your family by keeping the gains you all worked so hard for.
Myth Two: Only really rich people need a pre-nup. FALSE.
While “rich” people may be more likely to get a pre-nup and understand (and appreciate) its importance, many other people can benefit. Think about your artsy friend who has worked for 10 years on her art/fashion line/music and is finally breaking into the “scene” and getting paid for her inspired works. Or think about your friend who has been single (on purpose!), just recently started a business which is struggling, but has a lot of potential, and now, at 42, decides to get married. Both of these women are perfect examples of who should be protecting all that they’ve worked for – which right now isn’t a lot but both have the potential to grow exponentially. And I don’t mean just in money terms. I also mean the actual rights to that art/fashion line/music/business-with-lots-of-potential. By entering into a pre-nup these women are protecting their passion, in all honesty, from having to be separated into pieces and distributed during property division.
Just briefly on ante-nuptial agreements – these are agreements that are entered into by spouses after marriage and protect assets that are the result of the work of one of the spouses so that those specific assets are excluded from division during a divorce. Think of your friend who started a law firm after she was married for several years to her husband and she worked alone on that law firm with virtually no input from her husband. Under property division laws in Delaware, this business is marital and subject to division in divorce. However, if your friend enters into an ante-nup agreement with her husband excluding her law firm from marital assets, the success culled from all of her hard work, tears, and perseverance will be protected in the event she gets divorced (note to self – draft ante-nup agreement).
In conclusion, I hope this article sheds some light on the issues of pre-nup agreements and introduced you to the concept of ante-nup agreements – and puts them in a better light. Again, as space is limited – and there’s so much more to explain – please visit my blog at www.pinterlawonline.com.
Wishing you peace of mind and contentment, Shana
Shana A. Pinter, Esq., is the founding attorney of Pinter Law, LLC, a law firm dedicated primarily to family law. She has been practicing since 2009 and founded Pinter Law, LLC, to increase access to legal assistance to those facing challenges within their families.