The wedding day is approaching, and the couple allocated a year preparing every detail to ensure this important day is perfect. Contracts were reviewed for the photographer, caterer, and DJ. Hours were dedicated to finding the perfect dress, cake and flowers. Money was exhausted on the elaborate honeymoon. The last thing any couple wants is to add to the long and expensive to do list, is schedule an appointment with an attorney, especially when the topic of conversation is what to do if this marriage ends. Prenuptial agreements are a topic every couple should discuss prior to marriage. You couple controls where to allocate your time and money planning the wedding. A prenuptial agreement allows you to decide how the martial assets will be divided should a divorce or separation occur. Otherwise, you will be leaving that decision to a stranger’s interpretation of the ever-changing Divorce Code. I am sure you would not want a Judge, who you never met inform you how to plan your wedding, or dictate how much of your money you can spend on a wedding dress; then why would you risk placing control of your entire marital estate in the hands of a Judge.
A common misconception is that prenuptial agreements are intended for parties with significant assets prior to marriage. Protecting existing assets is one reason or purpose to obtain prenuptial agreement; however, that is not the only objective. The couple has the power to divide future assets acquired during the marriage, determine who will reside in the martial home during a separation, which will be responsible for paying the mortgage, and credit cards, and will either spouse be entitled to spousal support or alimony.
If you are presented with a prenuptial agreement, review it carefully and talk to an attorney before signing the document. Settlement agreements are presumed valid, the party seeking to nullify the agreement has the burden of proving the invalidity of the agreement. The Pennsylvania Courts have decided many cases where a spouse challenges the validity of the prenuptial agreement due to duress. “No spouse has ever convinced a court to void a settlement agreement on the grounds of duress,” until 2020. Lewis v Lewis, 2020 Pa Super 140. In Lewis v Lewis the facts were severe, and the parties spent years litigation the matter. Allegations of being forced to sing a prenuptial agreement on the eve of a wedding, or daily badgering will not invalidate the agreement. Id.
Talking to a family lawyer now could avoid years of costly litigation later.