St. Petersburg Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements Lawyer
A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into by two people who are contemplating marriage. The agreement becomes effective upon marriage. A postnuptial agreement is a contract entered into by two people who are already married, which becomes active as soon as it is duly executed. Although the purposes for a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement are many and varied, the overall reasons generally boil down to protecting a spouse from being left out in the cold or taken advantage in the event of divorce, death, separation or some other triggering event named in the agreement.
The St. Petersburg prenuptial & postnuptial agreements lawyers at Meros, Smith, Lazzara, Brennan & Brennan, P.A., provide sound advice and professional assistance in the negotiation, drafting or review of prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. See below for some of the main benefits of a prenup or postnup, and call our office for help getting an agreement in place that meets your needs.
Enter the Marriage With Your Eyes Open
Too often, people avoid having serious discussions about money before marrying out of fear it will spoil the romance or make the other party suspicious. Yet, disputes over money turn out to be the number two reason for divorce in America (adultery is number one). As part of the process of negotiating a prenuptial agreement, you’ll share important financial information so that each party is aware of the other’s assets, debts and financial situation. You’ll know if the person you’re marrying is a saver or a spender, and they’ll know about you too. Armed with this knowledge, you can each take sensible steps to protect your separate property from the other spouse’s spending habits, debts or creditors.
Protect Children From a Prior Marriage
According to the last published U.S. Census ten years ago, 16 percent of children were living in a blended family, meaning the children were living with a stepparent, stepsibling or half-sibling. If you have children from a previous relationship, whether they are currently living with you or not, it’s natural to want to protect their rights to inherit or receive support from you. A new marriage can alter those rights unless they are protected in some way, such as through a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement, for instance, can require the making of a will by one or both parties with certain terms included, such as providing for a child or waiving the spouse’s elective share rights. Other terms of a prenup could mandate purchasing a life insurance policy at a stated amount with particular beneficiaries designated.
Make Decisions Based on Reason, not Emotion
If the marriage does come to an end, issues such as the division of property and payment of alimony will have to be decided, one way or the other. In the best of circumstances, these issues are uncontested, and the parties resolve them together through a marital settlement agreement. Even if not in total agreement at the outset, they can get there with the help of an experienced divorce lawyer through mediation or collaborative divorce. In the worst case, the parties wind up in court fighting over every square inch of property and every dollar in the bank.
In a contested divorce, the parties’ feelings and emotions often take over and act as the driving force in the positions staked out regarding alimony or property. This is understandable, but it may not yield the best results for either party in the long run. By making these decisions at the outset, before emotions get involved, you can help ensure both parties are making sound decisions based on their needs. If you have a property or business that is truly important to be kept separate, you can protect that property in your agreement. If you are concerned you won’t be taken care of when it comes to alimony, or that you’ll be taken advantage of, address the matter ahead of time and decide together what is a fair amount and duration for spousal support.
Professional Legal Help with Prenuptial & Postnuptial Agreements in St. Petersburg
For help negotiating, drafting or reviewing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in St. Petersburg or surrounding areas, contact Meros, Smith, Lazzara, Brennan & Brennan, P.A., at 727-822-4929. We’ll help make sure you have a valid, enforceable agreement that meets your needs.