Preserving your individual financial estate, both before and/or during your marriage, as well as during a period of separation, or after divorce, is it an important aspect of Family Law. Maintaining ownership and control over the property and assets you owned prior to marriage, can be achieved through contracts between the parties. These types of contracts will be legally binding on the parties providing they contain full and fair disclosure of the party’s respective assets and income. A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into by the Bride and Groom prior to their marriage. The purpose of the prenuptial agreement is for each party to preserve their separate property as set forth in the Agreement and how they wish to distribute their assets in the event of divorce or death during marriage. In addition, the parties in a prenuptial agreement can also modify their legal rights to alimony, support, distribution of their property, and other related benefits, contrary to what each party may be entitled to under the law. A postnuptial agreement is a contract entered into after the Bride and Groom to become Husband and Wife. It is very similar to a prenuptial agreement and is used when either of the parties may receive property excluded by the Pennsylvania Divorce Code such as a large inheritance. In addition, the parties may not wish to file divorce immediately, however, wish to structure their relationship through a contract during the period of separation. It is important that these contracts are drafted properly so that they are enforceable, if needed.
In addition, upon completion of your divorce action, updating your Will and related estate documents, is absolutely necessary. Because you are now divorced, the priorities for preservation of your estate more often change in order to assure that your children are taken care of. Important, is to update your Last Will and Testament, and other related documents including a Power of Attorney and a Medical Directive. Because you Last Will and Testament was most likely created during your marriage, it may be necessary to remove any of the provisions relating to your ex-spouse and create a more structured form for protecting your minor children, including a Trust. Although the Pennsylvania Divorce Code and the Pennsylvania Probate and Estate Code work together, it is important to have a will, which reflects your intent and what you would like to happen with your Estate. Attorney Gricks understands the importance of maintaining your separate property and specifying each party’s rights in relation to that separate property when you become married how you wish that property to be distributed in the event of either divorce or death.