Reduce Divorce Conflict Before You Get Married

The popularity of premarital agreements is on the rise. One major reason is to avoid divorce litigation and high attorney’s fees if the marriage is unsuccessful. Premarital agreements, when done correctly, predetermine issues related to property and alimony resulting in less things to decide at the time of the divorce.

If you are planning on obtaining a premarital agreement, you should both obtain independent legal and financial advice, and you should both provide full and complete disclosure of your property, debt, and income.

Independent Legal and Financial Advice

There is no way one attorney can represent the interests of both persons. Legal advice is important because premarital agreements are typically lengthy documents filled with many pitfalls and unclear language. Under ethical guidelines, one attorney can’t answer questions and give legal advice for both of you.

Financial advice is important as well. You will be reviewing your future spouse’s property and debt and their separate values. Typically, the attorneys attach a sheet to the agreement disclosing all the financial information. You will want to clearly understand how the values were determined, and you may want review all the supporting records.

Full Financial Disclosure

It is important to value each individual item, to provide the date of valuation, and to disclose the method used for valuation. Exchange these financial statements before signing the agreement and allow complete access to all of the supporting documents. Your attorney may also recommend reviewing documents related to significant assets.

You should also consider exchanging copies of your will and estate planning documents to make sure those documents and your premarital agreement are consistent and carry out your intent.

     Posted on March 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm | No comment

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