As DC, Virginia and Maryland family attorneys, one of the services we cover at Hecht & Associates is drawing up prenuptial agreements. This can sometimes be a sensitive subject for couples who are considering marriage. As you may have seen on television, it is a legally binding agreement that dictates the division of assets for each individual in the event of divorce or the death of one of them. However, as many things on TV are dramatized, so is the prenuptial agreement. It is often portrayed as a ploy by a wealthy man to safeguard his riches from a woman his family does not trust. In reality, however, this is usually not the purpose for our family lawyers in Maryland, Virginia and DC when drawing up prenuptial agreements for our clients.
Prenuptial agreements can provide full disclosure to both parties regarding their financial holdings, properties and assets. They are also set up to dictate that each party will leave the marriage with the same division of assets as it began, should the union end in divorce or in the death of one spouse. It is not a hint or insinuation that the marriage will fail; many couples with prenuptial agreements stay together for the rest of their lives. The prenuptial agreement should be viewed as a safeguard for many couples that, in the unlikely event they do not stay together, the separation and divorce will be as simple and as quick as possible. Since all of the financial details have already been agreed upon, there are fewer arrangements to be made. It also signifies that the union is about love, not financial gain.
The next time someone talks about getting a prenuptial agreement, try not to think about the stereotype as portrayed on TV. Consider it a legally binding agreement between two people who are planning to spend the rest of their lives together, but do not know what the future will bring.