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Prenuptial Agreements

Knowledgeable Easton Family Law Attorney Drafts Prenuptial Agreements

Meticulous attention to detail produces valid, enforceable contracts

If you are engaged to be married, a prenuptial agreement may strike you as unromantic and even pessimistic. But the high incidence of divorce in the United States has made prenuptial agreements fairly standard. Richard J. Shiroff helps clients negotiate terms for prenups. I also draft and review agreements. Drawing on more than 35 years of experience in family law and estate planning, I take meticulous care to create clear, unambiguous and enforceable agreements that protect your rights in the event of divorce. If you are already married, it’s not too late to put a marital agreement in place. No one knows what the future has in store, but prudent planning can provide financial protections if the unexpected happens.

Creating a valid prenup under Pennsylvania law

A prenuptial agreement is a contract that spells out certain rights in the event of a divorce. Pennsylvania law sets down certain requirements that make a prenup valid and enforceable in state court:

  • Writing — A prenup cannot be an oral contract. It must be written, signed by both parties and notarized.
  • Transparency — Each party to the contract must present a financial disclosure listing all assets and debts with an estimate of net worth, tax records and salary information.
  • Voluntary acceptance — A prenup executed too close to the wedding date can give the impression that one party was using the impending nuptials as emotional leverage to force agreement. A court could rule that the agreement was signed under duress and is therefore invalid.
  • Full disclosure — A prenup can favor one party over the other, but it cannot unjustly enrich one while reducing the other to poverty. A court can void a prenup that is heavily weighted toward one party if it finds that enforcing the unbalanced terms would be “unconscionable.”

To ensure the final agreement is valid, each party should have independent counsel to negotiate or at least review the terms of the document.

What are the benefits to setting up a premarital agreement?

The benefits of a prenuptial agreement depend on your circumstances. Situations in which a prenup is helpful include:

  • You have significantly more wealth than your intended spouse.
  • You have assets or investments that you expect will gain value in the future.
  • You have children from a first marriage and want to protect their inheritance.
  • Your intended spouse is involved in highly speculative business pursuits.

In each of these cases, you can designate assets as separate property so that they are not counted as part of your marital estate. If you and your spouse divorce in the future, you can keep your separate property. Your prenuptial agreement can also serve as the basis for the division of your property, facilitating your divorce and saving you time and expense. However, to get any of these benefits, you must work with a capable attorney to ensure that your agreement is valid and enforceable.

Contact a meticulous family law attorney in Easton for your prenuptial agreement

Richard J. Shiroff takes meticulous care to negotiate, draft and review prenuptial and postnuptial agreements for clients in Northampton, Lehigh and Carbon counties. Call me at 610-253-1023 or contact me online to schedule an appointment. My office is located at 724 Lehigh Street, just a short walk from the Northampton County Courthouse.

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Office Location
  • Easton Office
    724 Lehigh Street
    Easton, Pennsylvania 18042
    Phone: 610-253-1023
    Fax: 610-253-4385