New uses for marital contracts

Historically, prenuptial agreements have been thought of as a tool to help safeguard assets during a potential future divorce. This is generally considered to be needed only by a select few who could fall into the category of "very wealthy". However, this view is proving to be a rather antiquated one with prenuptial agreements showing their benefits to Portland residents in many other ways as well. In addition, postnuptial agreements also can be of importance to couples depending upon the circumstances.

Social changes over the past several decades have opened up new opportunities that make marital contracts beneficial to many more people than ever before. These include the following:

  • Remarriages with minor children: When a person who has financial obligations to minor children from prior marriages or relationships gets married, a prenuptial agreement can help to ensure continued financial support for those children. This can ease concerns that may arise to multiple parties. Ex-spouses can feel reassured that child support payments will continue. The person getting married may feel reassured by his or her new spouse's willingness to legally promise a continued commitment to the children.
  • Remarriages with adult children: When getting married later in life, after children have left home and maybe even started their own families, a prenuptial agreement can be used as an adjunct to other estate planning tools. A marital contract can identify which family members on either side of the marriage will receive which assets upon the death of either spouse.
  • Marriage when owning a business: A person who has an interest in part or in whole in a business needs to protect that business. The use of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help to do just that. When properly drafted, the document may keep all or part of the business out of any property division or other proceeding during a divorce. This can help to keep a business running during an otherwise difficult time.
  • Stay-at-home parents: When already married, if one partner agrees to leave the workforce to take care of children, a postnuptial agreement can offer protection in the event of an unfortunate divorce later on. When giving up several years in a profession, many people will be unable to later find employment at the same rate of pay. A marital contract can help to ensure an ongoing living standard.

These are just some of the ways that today's couples are putting marital contracts to use, showing the many benefits of these documents.

Couples who are interested in prenuptial or postnuptial agreements should each work with individual attorneys. Talking to an attorney early in the process is always advised to make sure that a document is properly drafted for maximum protection.