Prenuptial & Postnuptial Property Settlement Agreements
A prenuptial agreement may be desirable and necessary before a marriage occurs. Common situations where such an agreement is recommended include second marriages, person(s) with substantial assets, and person(s) having interests in family businesses outside the marriage. Issues often addressed include: identification of premarital assets/debts, delineation of how premarital vs. marital assets/debts will be treated during the marriage, what occurs in the event of a future divorce, retention of rights and obligations as a spouse, waivers of certain claims between spouses in case of death or divorce, income and estate tax concerns, and other aspects of the contemplated union and possible future termination of that union. Attorney Bernstein can explain how such an agreement may be customized to fit your need for protection.
Most divorces end with the equitable distribution of the marital estate through the use of a written settlement agreement. This comprehensive agreement may result after settlement conferences or hearings with a Divorce Master, but commonly is negotiated through counsel. This agreement will address address common property interests, such as real estate, personal property, spousal support or alimony, retirement accounts, investments, vehicles, life insurance, business interests, income tax aspects and other concerns having a monetary component. Additional legal aspects arising from the special relationship between a wife and husband also must be addressed in a properly prepared agreement, such as waivers against estates.
The goal is to allow each party to move on with life free from the interference or involvement of the other spouse, so the agreement helps solidify the finality of a divorce and to avoid future litigation. Often, the process of discovery is invoked by attorneys to produce information and documentation to assist everyone to ascertain the full extent of marital vs. nonmarital assets and debts. Sometimes, the use of expert witnesses is helpful to realize the true value of certain assets and obligations that must be equitably divided. Attorney Bernstein assists a client to become well- informed and to understand all terms of a final agreement before it is signed.