Pittsburgh Family Law Services, P.C. Blog

Part I: Who needs a prenup and why? People in second marriages

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Although prenuptial agreements can benefit many kinds of couples, they offer specific protections for people in specific situations. One such situation is those who are preparing to enter a second marriage. Whether you were the higher-earning or lower-earning spouse during your prior marriage, a prenuptial agreement allows you to protect the assets you acquired or retained.  

If you went through the divorce process, you may have received a portion of your ex’s retirement. This was likely put into an IRA which accrues interest and will grow over time. It’s also very common for people to put proceeds from the sale of a house into an IRA, for similar investment purposes. These assets will continue to increase in value during your second marriage. 

Under Pennsylvania law, any increase in value of premarital property is considered part of your marital estate. This includes IRAs and 401(k)s, even though they’re only in your sole name. Depending on how long a subsequent marriage lasts, or how much an asset grows, this could be a substantial amount of money. A prenuptial agreement allows you to keep this growth outside of the marital estate. This way, your assets will be protected from distribution if you divorce.  

A prenuptial agreement is just as important for the spouse who was the higher-earner and lost assets in your prior divorce. If you’ve spent time building those assets back up, the last thing you want is to have them divided further. If you want to ensure that you can continue building up your wealth even after a divorce, then you should consider a prenuptial agreement which will protect those assets.  

If you’re in a second marriage, it doesn’t matter whether you were previously the higher or lower-earning spouse. You don’t know how your marriage or your assets will evolve, or what position you will ultimately be in if the marriage ends. If you want to protect the assets you’re bringing into the marriage, it’s important to have a prenuptial agreement which clearly defines what the marital estate will be. 

If you’re planning a second marriage and interested in learning how to keep your assets separate, contact our office today.