The United States Census Bureau has reported that approximately 50% of all first marriages will end in divorce. In the face of this alarming statistic concerning the significant failure rate of first marriages, surprisingly few prospective spouses — less than 10% — enter into premarital agreements, despite the general enforcement of such contracts by our courts of law. While it is axiomatic that nearly all couples are hopeful that their future marriage will last forever, the sad reality is that many marriages will end in divorce. When one contemplates the potential adverse consequences of a divorce in matters such as the division of marital assets, child custody, alimony, court costs and related expenses, a well-crafted premarital agreement can be a valuable legal document for both parties to possess.
A “premarital agreement” (also known as a “prenuptial contract” or “antenuptial contract”) is defined by the Pennsylvania Divorce Code as “an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage.” 23 Pa.C.S. §3106(b)
In general, a premarital agreement is enforceable in a court of law. The burden of proof to set aside a premarital agreement is upon the party alleging the agreement to be unenforceable. A premarital agreement shall be enforceable unless the party seeking to set aside the agreement proves, by clear and convincing evidence, that:
(1) the party did not execute the agreement voluntarily; or
(2) the party, before execution of the agreement: (i) was not provided a fair and reasonable disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party; (ii) did not voluntarily and expressly waive, in writing, any right to disclosure of the property or financial obligations of the other party beyond the disclosure provided; and (iii) did not have an adequate knowledge of the property or financial obligations of the other party. 23 Pa.C.S. §3106(a).
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in Simeone v. Simeone, 525 Pa. 392, 581 A.2d 162 (1990) stated the following concerning premarital agreements:
Whether you wish to have a premarital agreement skillfully drafted or meticulously reviewed in contemplation of your future marriage, the lawyers at Charles Law Offices are here to help you. Since 1977, Charles Law Offices has successfully represented clients in family law matters, including drafting and/or negotiating appropriate and equitable premarital agreements in an effort to avoid future domestic legal problems and issues, and turn potentially contentious situations into amicable and optimum outcomes.
So, if you, or a family member, have questions concerning a Premarital Agreement or other family law issue, give Charles Law Offices a call at 610-437-7064, or fill out the screen questionnaire. Our staff of highly experienced, trained, and knowledgeable family law attorneys is here 24/7 to guide and help you with all of your Premarital Agreement and family law questions. Don’t settle for anything less!
Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with a lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the attorneys at Charles Law Offices.
The Charles Brothers’ devotion to the law is derived from a family history in the legal system and of service to others. Their father, Charles “Chink” Charles (depicted in the lower left-hand corner of the photograph) held a 35 year career in law enforcement, and was selected to serve as the personal bodyguard for former United States Presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard M. Nixon and Lyndon B. Johnson during their campaign visits to Allentown.