A prenuptial agreement is a written contract that is created by two people before marriage. Prenuptial agreements are on the rise according to divorce attorneys. 73% of divorce attorneys report that in the last 5 years, there has been a steady rise in prenuptial agreements. 52% of such attorneys founnd that there is a noticeable increase in women requesting a prenuptial agreement, not because of the woman wanting to protect her assets but because the woman wants to avoid her husband’s debt. With the recession leaving many people in debt, potential spouses want to avoid any possible financial obligation. There is also the issue of one of the spouses inheriting a large sum of money.
Trying to avoid a partner’s debt was not the case for actress Hilary Duff and her hockey player fiance Mike Comrie who signed a prenuptial agreement. Mike makes about $500,000 a year; Hilary is said to have a net worth of $25 million however Mike’s father, Bill Comrie, founder of The Brick, apparently is worth $500 million. Other celebrities who have prenuptial agreements are Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban whose agreement says Keith doesn’t get a penny if he uses illegal drugs. Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones and Martin Sheen and Denise Richard’s pre-nups both have provisions in case the husbands cheated.
Many financial planners advise that couples who have significant assets going into the marriage consider a prenuptial agreement as part of their estate plan. Such an agreement usually specifes the assets each person has coming into the marriage as well as what debt each are bringing into the marriage. In California everything that is earned or bought after marriage is presumed to be community property. A prenuptial agreement can provide for a different outcome. Other reasons to consider a prenuptial agreement can be to pass separate property to children from a prior marriage, to specify how debt should be handled, or to clarify what will occur in case of a divorce.
Drafting a prenuptial agreement can be complex and should be drafted by an attorney. The attorneys at Scott C. Soady, A Professional Corporation have experience with prenuptial agreements and can assist with drafting a prenuptial (or post nuptial) agreement that will fulfill your goals. They can also create an estate plan for couples which will act together with your prenuptial agreement.