The last thing on your mind with your second or third marriage is it failing like your previous marriage. You are hopeful that this marriage will last and you will enjoy spending the rest of your life with your special someone. While it is good to be hopeful and work towards making your relationship last, as you are already aware, things can and do go wrong.
A marriage contract, or prenuptial agreement, helps you plan for the unexpected just in case things do not go as planned. The purpose of the marriage contract is not to distract from your upcoming special day, but to make sure you and your new spouse will be equally protected should the marriage not last.
How Can a Marriage Contract Protect Me?
A marriage contract can protect you in several different ways. To being with, you can protect any of your assets, retirement accounts, pension accounts, investments, and bank accounts you acquired prior to your new marriage.
For example, a marriage contract could provide for no division of assets upon separation except according to ownership. All that would be divided upon separation would be joint assets.
Also, if you came into the marriage owning a house, which would become the matrimonial home, that could be expressly excluded from division.
Next, you can include specific wording into the marriage contract to ensure previous commitments are met and excluded from future divorce proceedings should your new marriage not last. For instance, if you are already paying child support to your previous ex-spouse, that amount of money can be “set aside” and not included in your current earnings or assets in the event of a divorce with your new spouse.
Another benefit of having a marriage contract is it allows you to stipulate the terms and conditions of a separation and divorce agreement. However, the agreement should be fair, otherwise, your spouse could challenge it in court should you get divorced.
The separation and divorce agreement can be written to include:
- The division of marital property
- How the marital home will be disposed of
- Child custody and access if you have children with your new spouse
- Child support
- Spousal support, and other such details.
Why Do I Need a Family Law Lawyer to Draft and Create a Marriage Contract?
People are free to draft and create their own marriage contracts. However, what happens quite often in these cases is the contract is not legally binding. Should the marriage fail, the contract can be contested in court. As you can imagine, the judge would find the document not binding, so anything written in it would not apply to the divorce. The could be financially disastrous.
To ensure your marriage contract is legally binding and cannot be challenged in court, you need to enlist the help of a qualified and experienced family law lawyer. Your lawyer will be able to guide you and your future-new spouse through the entire marriage contract process.
This way, you will end up with a document that is legally binding and enforceable should your new marriage not last as planned. For further information about marriage contracts or help with drafting and creating one, please feel free to contact Tanya Davies.