West Chester, PA 19380
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Lee Ciccarelli is the founder and managing partner of Ciccarelli Law Offices with over two decades experience as a practicing attorney.
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With the high rate of divorce, it's important for people getting married to know that they will receive a fair distribution in the event that their marriage ends. As much as you and your betrothed may be in love now, it's important that each person has their interests in mind when approaching this delicate subject. An attorney can be helpful in ensuring that all important avenues are considered and there are no long-term complications in the agreement.
An experienced family law attorney from Ciccarelli Law Officescould make an important difference in drafting an airtight and comprehensive contract with your best interests protected, whether you're the one drafting the agreement or the one signing it. Our team effort means that you get the experience of more than just one attorney working for you. We will carefully draft your agreement, or diligently review an agreement presented to you, and brief you on its potential repercussions.
Contact us today at (877) 529-2422, or send us an online message, and we can set up a free consultation. You can explore options for marriage agreements that work for your unique situation in one of our convenient locations in Lancaster, Philadelphia, Plymouth Meeting, West Chester, Kennett Square, Malvern, Springfield, King of Prussia, or Radnor.
We represent clients engaged to be married throughout the Philadelphia area and Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Chester, Montgomery, Lancaster and Delaware Counties.
When people marry, their incomes and any assets they gain after marriage are combined. If the couple gets divorced in Pennsylvania, the court has the job of making an equitable distribution of the marital property. The division does not have to be equal, just equitable, and the court will look at a variety of factors. However, under the law, anything that qualifies as marital property may be divided up among the spouses at divorce.
Many people who already have significant assets before marriage may be concerned about the assets they have and the assets they might gain during the marriage, and how those assets will fare if there is a divorce. They might enter into premarital agreements with their engaged spouse about how assets and income will be divided in the event of divorce. These agreements are often called prenuptial agreements, or "prenups," and Pennsylvania law says that, if valid, they will be honored.
For instance, Spouse A, who owns a profitable business, is marrying Spouse B. Spouse A has invested much of her own time, energy and personal assets into the business, but if they divorce, any profits the business made during the marriage will be divided among the spouses. Spouse A can ask Spouse B to sign a prenuptial agreement that all profits of the business are Spouse A's.
A prenuptial agreement can also impose a certain condition on division. For example, the agreement could say that if there is ever infidelity, the wronged spouse will get 90 percent of all the marital property. It could say that if the woman gives birth to a son, she will get an additional $1 million. It could say that one spouse gets a certain amount of money for every year of marriage.
A prenup agreement cannot, however, set conditions for the custody of children. The court will determine custody based on the best interests of the child, and not on the basis of any agreement the parents may have made.
Prenuptial agreements must be voluntary, but do not need to be fair or reasonable under Pennsylvania law to be enforced. However, they do require that the couples give a fair and reasonable disclosure of their assets before executing the agreement. If the disclosure was not made and not waived, and if the spouse did not have adequate knowledge of the property, the agreement is invalid and the divorce court will not honor it.
For example, Spouse A and Spouse B enter into a prenuptial agreement that Spouse B will get $100,000 upon divorce. However, Spouse A hid his assets and could have actually afforded much more. Spouse B can argue that when she agreed to $100,000, she did not know that Spouse A could have afforded much more. If a premarital agreement is thrown out, the court divides marital property using equitable distribution, as if there were never a prenuptial agreement.
However, it is incumbent upon the person saying that the prenuptial agreement is invalid to prove that it is. A prenuptial agreement is presumed by courts to be valid.
For matters pertaining to prenuptial agreements, you can count on the West Chester family lawyers at Ciccarelli Law Offices. We represent clients throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Media, Phoenixville, Coatesville, Paoli, Willow Street, Lititz, Ephrata, Norristown, Villanova, Newtown Square, Glen Mills, Ardmore, Philadelphia, and surrounding communities. We're here to both draft and review any agreement. Call us today at (877) 529-2422 or send an online message for a free consultation.