Antenuptial Agreements

Q. My first marriage ended in a bitter divorce. I’m considering getting married again and would like to know how to protect myself.

A. Antenuptial agreements are very common, especially when one of the parties is getting married for a second time. Such agreements provide for and are binding at time of dissolution or separation of marriage. The antenuptial agreement can actually serve as the separation and property settlement agreement at the time of divorce.

Some of the standard features of such an agreement are the following:

  1. One party has assets that he or she would like to exclude from the new spouse’s inheritance or protect from possible alimony.
  2. One spouse has business interests that he or she would like to protect from the other in the event of death, separation or divorce.
  3. Each party would like to have separate financial accounts or own separate properties.
  4. In the event of dissolution of marriage, neither party would make claim for support or alimony upon the other party.
  5. Each party waives the right of statutory share, dower, or any right of elective share to homestead, exempt property, family allowance, in and to the estate of the other and agree to make no claim of inheritance, descent, dower, curtesy, homestead, maintenance or statutory share of the estate of the other.
  6. Each agrees to pay all of his or her own expenses prior to the wedding.
  7. Each party does consent and acknowledge that the estate of the other party shall descend or be disposed of by will to the heirs or legatees or devisees of each of said parties, free and clear of any claim by inheritance dower, curtesy, maintenance statutory right and other claim by husband or wife.
  8. Each realizes that he or she is giving up certain rights established by law, and that such rights might well constitute a detriment and each is willing to assume said detriment with full knowledge and understanding thereof.

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