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Family Law

Premarital Agreements

Pennsylvania Premarital Agreements Attorneys

The U.S. Census Bureau has reported that approximately half of all first marriages will end in divorce.

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.

What is a “premarital agreement?”

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)

Is a premarital agreement enforceable in a court of law?

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).

some things you should know about Premarital Agreements

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, in Simeone v. Simeone, 525 Pa. 392, 581 A.2d 162 (1990) stated the following concerning premarital agreements:

  1. Contracting parties are normally bound by their agreements, without regard to whether the terms thereof were read and fully understood and irrespective of whether the agreements embodied reasonable or good bargains.
  2. The reasonableness of a prenuptial bargain is not a proper subject for judicial review.
  3. Traditional principles of contract law provide perfectly adequate remedies where contracts are procured through fraud, misrepresentation,or duress.
  4. A premarital agreement is not void on the grounds that the spouse did not consult with independent legal counsel prior to executing the agreement.
  5. A spouse who executed a premarital agreement which recites that each of the parties considers the agreement fair, just and reasonable, is foreclosed from later trying to evade its terms by asserting that it was not in fact reasonable.
  6. If parties choose not to address in their premarital agreements the possibilities of illness, birth of children, reliance upon spouse, career change, financial gain or loss, or other numerous events that can occur in the course of a marriage, they must be regarded as having contracted to bear the risk of events that alter the value of their bargains.
  7. Full and fair disclosure of the financial positions of the parties to the premarital agreement is required. This disclosure need not be exact, so long as it is “full and fair.”  Absent this disclosure, material misrepresentation in the inducement for entering the premarital agreement may be asserted.
  8. If a premarital agreement provides that full disclosure has been made, a presumption of full disclosure arises. If a spouse attempts to rebut this presumption through an assertion of fraud or misrepresentation, then this presumption can be rebutted if it is proven by clear and convincing evidence.

Whether you need a “Premarital Agreement” to be skillfully drafted or meticulously reviewed, Charles Law Offices is here to help you.

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.

Have questions concerning a Premarital Agreement or other family law issue?

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A Family History of Devotion to
Law and Public Service

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.

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