Matrimonial Agreements


Matrimonial Agreements: What They Are and Why They Matter

Marriage is a beautiful celebration of love and commitment, but it is also a legal partnership. And like any partnership, it is important to clarify expectations and responsibilities in case of a future dissolution. This is where matrimonial agreements come in.

What are Matrimonial Agreements?

Matrimonial agreements, also known as prenuptial agreements or prenups, are legal documents that outline the financial and property rights of each spouse in case of a divorce or separation. They can cover a wide range of issues, such as asset division, spousal support, and even custody arrangements.

Matrimonial agreements can be signed before the wedding (prenup), during the marriage (postnup), or after a separation (separation agreement). They are especially useful in cases where one or both spouses have substantial assets or debts, or if they have children from previous relationships.

Why Do Matrimonial Agreements Matter?

Some people see matrimonial agreements as unromantic or pessimistic, but they can actually be a sign of a healthy relationship. By openly discussing their expectations and concerns, couples can avoid misunderstandings and potential conflicts in the future.

Matrimonial agreements can also protect both spouses from financial uncertainty and ensure a fair and equitable distribution of assets. For example, if one spouse owns a business or has inherited property, a prenup can prevent the other spouse from making a claim on those assets in case of a divorce.

Matrimonial agreements can also be helpful in cases where one spouse has a significantly higher income than the other. The agreement can specify the amount and duration of spousal support, or waive it altogether.

Finally, matrimonial agreements can save time, money, and emotional stress in case of a divorce. By already establishing the terms of the separation, couples can avoid lengthy and costly legal battles.

How to Create a Matrimonial Agreement?

Matrimonial agreements are legal documents that require careful consideration and professional guidance. Both spouses should consult with their own lawyers to ensure that their rights and interests are protected.

The agreement should also be based on full disclosure of each spouse`s assets, debts, and income. If one spouse withholds information or coerces the other into signing the agreement, it may be deemed invalid in court.

Matrimonial agreements can be customized to each couple`s needs and wishes. They can be as detailed or as general as the couple desires. However, they must comply with the state`s laws on contracts and family law, and they cannot override the court`s jurisdiction on issues such as child custody and support.

In summary, matrimonial agreements are legal tools that can protect and enhance a couple`s relationship. They can provide clarity, security, and peace of mind in case of a future separation. Whether you are considering a prenup, postnup, or separation agreement, make sure to consult with an experienced lawyer who can guide you through the process.