Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Prenups: Not Just for Jessica Simpson

by Wendy Alton

Will Jessica Simpson insist on a prenuptial agreement (prenup) as she plans on marrying Eric Johnson? That seems to be the hot topic surrounding her life these days. Eva Longoria and Tony Parker had a prenup. George and Ann Lopez did not. Frank McCourt and his wife Jamie (owners of the Dodgers) apparently had two prenups and they each said different things. Why all the fuss about prenuptial agreements? What are they and why would we even consider one unless we were a celebrity?

Prenuptial agreements are agreements made between couples who are planning on getting married. Those agreements will state what happens with their money and property if they ever divorce or die. It can dictate how they will purchase things and how they will share debt. It can indicate whether or not spousal support or alimony will be awarded if they divorce.

Prenuptial agreements are very common when two people are bringing significant assets of their own into the marriage, or even significant debt. They are also common when people are marrying later in life and they have grown children they want to provide for if they were to pass away. They are common with people who are marrying for the 2nd or 3rd time, or for people who have businesses that they have started or have inherited through the family. They are far more common than they used to be.

For couples that are anticipating marriage, it is very important to at least consider whether or not to have a prenuptial agreement in place prior to getting married. This is particularly important if each person has their own property, investments, retirement and savings. If a couple decides on a prenuptial agreement, they must fully disclose to each other all of their property and debt and the value of each, and must agree to consult with an attorney prior to signing it. They are usually signed prior to the wedding.

And yes, they are drafted for people just like you and me, even if we aren’t as newsworthy as Jessica Simpson.

If you are interested in learning more about divorce or family law, please call Wendy Alton at 248-380-9976 or email her at walton@fb-firm.com.

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