I Love You, But Sign Here First
A marital separation agreement allows a couple to highlight their terms and also what they expect to happen to their assets, as well as financial support to each other if things fail to work. Though the agreement is not legally enforceable (strictly), the marital agreement aims to eliminate the discretion that could be exercised by the court with regards to the division of assets, as well as income, to ensure fairness.
The marital separation often outlines the terms of a separation, whether the couple gets back together or not. When a marital separation agreement form is signed, it means that a couple has agreed to live apart from each other, without getting divorced. Should things go south, a prenup prevents the acrimonious divorce proceeding, as well as financial disputes.
What is a Prenup?
A prenup or a prenuptial agreement refers to a marital agreement drawn between a couple. Prenups can be drawn between:
Husband and wife before marriage. Although a husband and wife can sign the agreement after marriage, creating a postnuptial agreement.
Separation agreement by wife and husband – this is where the couple signs a legal marital separation agreement, outlining their wishes regarding the division of assets, debts, property, alimony, and child support.
There also is a pre-civil partnership agreement that is drawn between same-sex couples before they enter a Civil Partnership. It works in the same way as a prenup.
Why Create a Prenup?
Often, the primary reason for the creation of and entering into a prenuptial agreement is to protect either party’s pre-acquired assets or their inheritance effectively. There are requirements to be met by the party drawing up the prenup for the court to uphold the terms of their prenup.
The most important bit is the identification of the assets that the prenup can protect. The prenup only protects non-matrimonial assets that are acquired before a marriage or assets that are held in a family trust, as well as assets that are received as part of inheritance before and during the marriage. By signing the prenup, you are sure that there will be no ring-fencing of the non-matrimonial assets. Therefore, the property will not be divided in the event of a separation or a divorce.
Note that a prenuptial agreement should not be considered as something to do with mistrust or discontent, but as an equitable merger between two people who love each other, and only wish to protect their finances.
To be on the safe side and to ensure that you are on the same page before and after you ask for a prenup, you should hold the conversation early on, decide on the terms, be honest about your needs, and always listen to your partner. Also, leave room for change in future.