Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement, sometimes called a premarital agreement, is a contract between people who intend to marry which governs what will happen to their assets in the event of divorce. Historically, courts viewed prenuptial agreements with suspicion, believing that they discouraged people from getting married. Today, most jurisdictions permit prenuptial agreements, taking the opposite perspective that they can actually help facilitate marriage.

The word "prenuptial" is one of the most frequently misspelled words in legal parlance. The term is derived from the word "nuptial", which means "of or relating to marriage or the wedding ceremony". While a hyphenated reference to a "pre-nuptial agreement", or the short-hand reference to a "prenup", can be acceptable, the misspelling "prenuptual" is not. If you see a website advertising "prenuptual agreements", the author of the page probably doesn't know anything about the subject.

Prenuptial agreements are perhaps most common in situations where one person has considerable assets or earning capacity, or owns a business, and is marrying a person who has significantly fewer assets. An agreement as to a future property settlement or spousal support (alimony) payments can provide the wealthier spouse with financial protection, and at the same time with some assurance that the marriage is about love and not money.

To read this article in its entirety, click here.
For more information, contact the Family Law Offices of Renee M. Marcelle at (415) 456-4444, or online at


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