Nancy L. Sponseller

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Looking to the future with a prenuptial agreement

On behalf of Law Office of Nancy L. Sponseller posted on Wednesday, October 15, 2014.

Many Ohio residents may consider prenuptial agreements a concern only for the wealthy. Younger couples in particular often think that they do not have assets significant enough to warrant considering one. However, issues of who owns an asset or debt are often more complicated than prospective spouses realize.

Although a couple may enter a marriage without significant assets such as cars, homes or businesses, it is unlikely that they will not acquire any assets in the future. While couples may understand the need to divide jointly-purchased and jointly-held property fairly, spouses who inherit money, family businesses or other property from a parent or other relative usually wish to keep those assets for themselves. Divorce laws usually protect inheritances from the property division process, but inherited assets that are commingled are typically considered marital property. This includes assets purchased with inherited funds for both partners’ use like a home or car. A prenuptial agreement protects the spouse from having to share the value of assets bought with inherited money in a subsequent divorce.

Many young couples come into a marriage holding significant student loans or other debts. Debts incurred before a marriage usually remain the responsibility of the debtor upon divorce, but debt consolidation, refinancing or other procedures may make the debt both partners’ responsibility upon divorce. A prenuptial agreement can clearly designate whose debt is whose and simplify the division of debts.

Couples preparing to get married often find that they can give their families peace of mind by obtaining a prenuptial agreement before inheriting assets. They may also find comfort in knowing that they will not have to assume an estranged partner’s debts in case the marriage ends. A family law attorney can guide a client through the process of negotiating a prenuptial agreement.

Source: MainStreet, “Why You Need a Prenup to Marry Even If You Think You’re Poor“, Marc Levy, October 06, 2014