Pennsylvania Prenuptial Agreement
You’re getting hitched and plan to live in the historic Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and you might be wondering what to include in your prenup so it holds up as long as the historic liberty bell and fantastic food scene in Philly. Here is some information you need to know about Pennsylvania prenups, including terminology and links to the Pennsylvania domestic relations laws that contain all of the fine print.
What is a Prenuptial Agreements
Why is a prenup a good idea?
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Prenuptial Agreements
In Pennsylvania, Prenups are “officially” referred to as Premarital Agreements. Per Pennsylvania law, the term “premarital agreement” means an agreement between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage.” Here is the fine print from the PA statute:
- 3106. Premarital agreements.
(a) General rule.–The burden of proof to set aside a premarital agreement shall be upon the party alleging the agreement to be unenforceable. A premarital agreement shall not be enforceable if 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.
Marriage in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
In the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the laws that control marital rights are found in the Pennsylvania Domestic Relations code.
Property that is not marital:Non-Marital Property
Property that is of the marriage:Marital Property
What to include in a Pennsylvania Prenup?
Here are some things you should keep in mind for your Pennsylvania prenup:
- Make sure it is in writing!
- The terms contained in the prenup must be lawful terms
- Both you and your fiancé must sign the agreement – and, we recommend initialing the bottom of each page!
- Your agreement must be signed voluntarily (this means without being under duress, intimidation, deceit, etc.)
- You should have your signatures notarized! This is not a requirement in all states, but is best practice.
- Financial disclosure (this is what your Schedule A or B financial schedule is for!)
Can the prenuptial agreement be enforced?
Official term for jointly owned property
Per the Pennsylvania statute, Marital Property is defined as the following:
General rule.–As used in this chapter, “marital property” means all property acquired by either party during the marriage and the increase in value of any nonmarital property acquired pursuant to paragraphs (1) and (3) as measured and determined under subsection (a.1). However, marital property does not include:
(1) Property acquired prior to marriage or property acquired in exchange for property acquired prior to the marriage.
(2) Property excluded by valid agreement of the parties entered into before, during or after the marriage.
(3) Property acquired by gift, except between spouses, bequest, devise or descent or property acquired in exchange for such property.
(4) Property acquired after final separation until the date of divorce, except for property acquired in exchange for marital assets.
(5) Property which a party has sold, granted, conveyed or otherwise disposed of in good faith and for value prior to the date of final separation.
(6) Veterans’ benefits exempt from attachment, levy or seizure pursuant to the act of September 2, 1958 (Public Law 85-857, 72 Stat. 1229), as amended, except for those benefits received by a veteran where the veteran has waived a portion of his military retirement pay in order to receive veterans’ compensation.
(7) Property to the extent to which the property has been mortgaged or otherwise encumbered in good faith for value prior to the date of final separation.
(8) Any payment received as a result of an award or settlement for any cause of action or claim which accrued prior to the marriage or after the date of final separation regardless of when the payment was received.
It is important to note that the increase in value of non-marital property during the marriage may be considered marital property, if you do not have a prenup. Check out the fine print here to read more, straight from the source.
Statutes & terms to help know
*Major prenup hack alert!* We’ve created a “prenup encyclopedia” for your reference so you can seamlessly get through any concepts or phrases that are necessary for your prenup.
Official term for independently owned property
“Non-Marital” property is defined in Pennsylvania as property owned before the marriage, or that was received during the marriage as a gift or as an inheritance. In some cases, determining what is non-marital or separate property can be unclear, so having a prenuptial agreement is a good way to clarify.
“Non-marital” assets is also referred to as “separate property” in Pennsylvania, and can include the following:
- Assets acquired by either spouse before the marriage
- Assets acquired by gift or inheritance at any time
- Assets acquired by either spouse after the date of separation
Spousal Maintenance Upon Divorce
Alimony (often referred to as spousal support in other states) is financial support
paid by one spouse to the other spouse during and/or after a divorce or separation. Below are some of the factors that a court will consider, according to the PA statute:
In determining whether alimony is necessary and in determining the nature, amount, duration and manner of payment of alimony, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including:
(1) The relative earnings and earning capacities of the parties.
(2) The ages and the physical, mental and emotional conditions of the parties.
(3) The sources of income of both parties, including, but not limited to, medical, retirement, insurance or other benefits.
(4) The expectancies and inheritances of the parties.
(5) The duration of the marriage.
(6) The contribution by one party to the education, training or increased earning power of the other party.
(7) The extent to which the earning power, expenses or financial obligations of a party will be affected by reason of serving as the custodian of a minor child.
(8) The standard of living of the parties established during the marriage.
(9) The relative education of the parties and the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate employment.
(10) The relative assets and liabilities of the parties.
(11) The property brought to the marriage by either party.
(12) The contribution of a spouse as homemaker.
(13) The relative needs of the parties.
(14) The marital misconduct of either of the parties during the marriage. The marital misconduct of either of the parties from the date of final separation shall not be considered by the court in its determinations relative to alimony, except that the court shall consider the abuse of one party by the other party. As used in this paragraph, “abuse” shall have the meaning given to it under section 6102 (relating to definitions).
(15) The Federal, State and local tax ramifications of the alimony award.
(16) Whether the party seeking alimony lacks sufficient property, including, but not limited to, property distributed under Chapter 35 (relating to property rights), to provide for the party’s reasonable needs.
(17) Whether the party seeking alimony is incapable of self-support through appropriate employment.
POV: You live in Wilmington, North Carolina and you hit the farmer’s market before jetting to the beach for the day....
Congrats on the engagement! Your next step may be discussing a prenuptial agreement (good on you!). But how does one...
POV: You’re rollin’ down Rodeo Drive with your boo, you just left your attorney’s office where you signed your...
Ready to start your Pennsylvania Prenup?
Just sign-up, sign-in, and print.
No commitment necessary.
(Not speaking about your marriage – commitment is absolutely necessary there).