Protecting Your Wealth: How Prenups Work
There are general principles of prenups that work across all American States however each State can introduce the way in which they will set aside prenups generally- some States follow the English common law, others do not.
Prenuptial agreements are agreements that are drawn up before the marriage takes place so that the parties are contractually bound to deal with certain matters if the marriage breaks down.
In order to be legal binding the parties will have to have had legal advice on it, and financial disclosure in most States and most importantly would have had time to have considered it together with their lawyers. Prenups that are signed on the day of the wedding or the day before, will likely to be set aside.
The usual prenups will deal with:-
Protecting assets that the parties owned before the marriage. For example companies, company shares, houses, yachts, cars, precious collections.
They can try to regulate whether maintenance should be paid to say a wife on divorce. They will give the level of maintenance payments and when they should stop.
Generally speaking prenups particularly where the parties are marrying second or third time round would state that each party should keep what they come into the marriage with, and divide equally the assets that they have made during the marriage.
Issues about children, where they should live, how they should be dealt with etc are not binding even in America and if no provision has been made for children, then the Court will impose it even if the prenup leaves it out.
Many prenups in the U.S can provide for example for a set sum to be paid for each year of the marriage eg Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones. Or they can take provisions to what we call “dog leg” that they will go up after five years, ten years or fifteen years. Some prenups will have a set sum that they will receive say after five years, ten years or fifteen years.
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Vanessa Lloyd Platt is the proprietor of Lloyd Platt & Co.