Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial and Partnership Agreements

What is the difference between a prenuptial and partnership agreement? Prenuptial agreements allow spouses to protect their financial interests prior to marriage. Those who cannot or choose not to marry can use partnership agreements to obtain some of the rights and benefits of marriage. Common Law marriage has been abolished in Ohio since 1992.

Both types of agreements are rooted in contract law. They can often avoid future family conflicts. A business owner may want to protect her interest prior to marriage. A committed couple can specify what occurs if the relationship ends.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement is completed prior to marriage. It allows couples to agree on the division of assets and debts upon divorce or death. These agreements are important, because postnuptial agreements are not valid in Ohio.

Common subjects addressed in a prenuptial agreement include the division of property, spousal support and allocation of debts. For example, a couple might agree that student loan debts remain a separate debt of the person who incurred them.

What is a Partnership Agreement?

Unmarried couples have no more protections than strangers do. A partnership agreement mimics some of the protections of marriage. It can be enforced in civil court, if necessary. A comprehensive agreement will include:

  • The parties and children involved (conceived or adopted)
  • The assets each brought to the relationship — vehicles, real estate and savings
  • A method of dividing property and sharing custody of children if the relationship ends

Many couples cannot get married for financial or other reasons. Disabled adults may not want to lose benefits. Tax debt, student loans, and support obligations may also affect the decision to marry.

All unmarried couples should have an estate plan in place. A power of attorney for finances and advance directives are also important to fill gaps while spouses are still living, but incapacitated.

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