By Matthew D. Gailey, Gailey Law Group
Weddings are the legal and often religious ceremony by which two people enter in a marriage. In Pennsylvania, a marriage ceremony is the beginning of the legal relationship which often leads to dissolution, heartbreak, and half your stuff being taken by your spouse. A great way to curtail this legal risk is to enter into a prenuptial agreement before the marriage happens.
Prenuptial agreements are contracts that spouses enter before a marriage takes place. The written agreement, which follow general principles of Pennsylvania contract law, determine the manner by which property is divided between the spouses after marriage. Prenuptial contracts can cover a wide range of areas including the right to property owned by either spouse, division of assets and debts if the couple divorces or a spouse dies, alimony, the right for a spouse to buy or sell assets during the marriage, inheritances, management of family business and so on.
A prenuptial agreement is not allowed to address a few areas of a matter of law. Prenuptial agreements can not resolve the religious upbringing of children, temporary alimony paid pending a divorce, and child support or child custody issues. Prenuptial agreements will be upheld unless there is clear and convincing evidence of an involuntary signature or the agreement was unconscionable because one spouse provided inadequate knowledge of assets and debts, the defrauded spouse didn’t waive in writing the right to disclosure of the other spouse’s finances and the defrauded spouse didn’t know enough about the other spouse’s finances.