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What Should I Include in a Prenuptial Agreement?


While prenuptial agreements have a bad rap, it’s important to understand that there already is a prenuptial agreement in place. Pennsylvania’s laws concerning divorce determine how marital assets are divided, how alimony is calculated, and on what basis judges make decisions during a divorce. While drafting a prenuptial agreement can feel a bit like “preparing for divorce,” it also gives you more control over the divorce process. In this article, the Philadelphia divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane will discuss what you should (and cannot) include in a prenuptial agreement.

Prenuptial agreements and the division of marital assets 

Pennsylvania is considered an equitable distribution state. Other states (called community property states) will divide the marital estate in half and distribute it among the spouses. In Pennsylvania, the court will usually divide the marital estate in half, but only if the relative earning power of the spouses is roughly equal. If one spouse earns considerably more than the other, then the court may see fit to divide the marital estate unevenly favoring the spouse with the lower earning power.

Another point that you have to be aware of is that the marital estate is composed of marital property. That means that the marital estate includes property and income that was acquired during the marriage. Separate property belongs to one or the other spouse. Marital property is equitably distributed during the divorce process.

A Pennsylvania prenuptial agreement can prevent certain assets from becoming marital property. In other words, you can stipulate in your prenuptial agreement that a specific asset will never become marital property. This is a popular provision in prenuptial agreements.

Prenuptial agreements and alimony 

Prenuptial agreements can contain provisions concerning alimony. Under state law, a judge would decide the amount and duration of alimony during the divorce proceedings. To avoid this, you can stipulate in your prenuptial agreement that the amount or duration of alimony is capped at a certain dollar amount or length of time.

Alternatively, you can take alimony off the board altogether. You can place a provision in your prenup that stipulates neither spouse can request alimony from the court.

Another option is to place a provision in the prenup that gives one spouse a lump sum payment instead of paying alimony over a significant period of time.

Lastly, you can place a provision in the prenup that limits what sources of income can be used to pay alimony.

What can’t be included in a prenuptial agreement?

 Prenuptial agreements can never contain provisions related to child custody or child support. Those are considered unenforceable. It is the sole jurisdiction of the court to oversee such matters. The court makes decisions concerning child custody and support based solely on the best interests of the children.

Talk to a Philadelphia Family Law Attorney Today 

The Law Offices of Lauren H. Kane represent the interests of Philadelphia residents who are interested in drafting a prenuptial agreement. Call our Philadelphia family lawyers today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin discussing your prenup right away.

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