A Premarital Agreement is a contract signed prior to marriage by two individuals who are contemplating marriage to one another. Such agreements are only effective after the parties have married. While these agreements can vary as to what is covered, they are generally used to define asset and to protect financial rights of each party, as well as provide for spousal support and division of assets/debts, should they divorce in the future. Simply put, premarital agreements are designed to regulate the affairs of parties in the event of a divorce. You should always consult with a knowledgeable South Carolina family law attorney to discuss your options regarding premarital agreements, and to ensure you know what you are signing before it is signed.
Many couples struggle with signing a Premarital Agreement, as it conveys the idea that the marriage will end in divorce, or that it is based on greed. However, it can be very important, particularly if one party is bringing significant assets to the marriage, or one party owns his/her own business. This agreement can also be important if you are not planning to combine your assets with your spouse. For Premarital Agreements in particular, it is important to hire a professional attorney who is well-versed in South Carolina law.
A Premarital Agreement will generally be deemed valid by a South Carolina family court if the following conditions are met:
- The agreement is in writing;
- Both parties have made a full financial disclosure;
- Both parties signed the agreement voluntarily; and,
- Each party has been represented by independent counsel.
A word of caution. One of the most common forms of pressure to sign a Premarital Agreement is that you or your partner feels rushed the sign an agreement prior to the wedding date. It is important that you take the time and effort to complete a Premarital Agreement well ahead of the wedding date, and that both parties believe their individual rights are protected to their satisfaction and you have each consulted with independent counsel regarding the terms of the Agreement.