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Should I Sign a Prenuptial Agreement?

Pre-nuptial agreement with wedding bands.

Prenuptial agreements long carried the stigma of being unromantic and cynical, because they introduced the subject of divorce before the marriage had even taken place. Prenups were also prone to abuse by spouses who drew them up unilaterally and insisted the other sign or the wedding wouldn’t happen. However, prenups have proved to be very useful, especially in second marriages or two-career marriages where the spouses have separate property worth protecting for themselves and their children.

But if you are asking whether you should sign a prenup your partner has presented to you, the answer is almost always no. Under such circumstances, a prenup is immediately suspect because it is not the product of transparent negotiations and may not be enforceable in Pennsylvania. Title 23 § 3106 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes renders prenuptial agreements void upon “clear and convincing evidence” that:

  • The party who drew up the agreement applied emotional or psychological pressure on the other party, most often with threats to cancel the wedding after the other party has gone through great expense.
  • Before the prenup is executed, the signing party did not have full knowledge of the property or finances covered, didn’t waive the right to full disclosure, and didn’t already have adequate knowledge of the other party’s financial status.

Perhaps a better question to ask yourself is whether you need a prenup. Your answer may be yes if:

  • You or the other spouse has significant separate property prior to marriage.
  • One of you has children from a first marriage.
  • One of you has investments or intellectual property that may gain value in the future.
  • You will be part of a two-career couple with disparate earning potential.

The best way to determine whether you should have a prenup is to speak with an experienced attorney who has negotiated and drafted prenups. If you decide you want one, you should have your own legal representative negotiate the terms with your intended spouse’s attorney.

The Law Offices of Jennifer Courtney & Associates, P.C. handles all aspects of prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. We serve clients throughout Bucks County, including Newtown, Washington Crossing, and Richboro. Call us at 215.493.3360 or contact our Yardley office online to schedule a consultation.

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