A prenuptial agreement is a formal contract executed by soon-to-be married couples that define their property rights after they get married. It is a document written and signed by the marrying parties and made legally binding before the couple is officially married. It may cover the following conditions, based on Article 75 of the Family Code:
- Absolute community system
- Conjugal partnership of gains
- Complete separation of property
- Any other regime or system that is not contrary to law
Although the execution of prenuptial agreements is not a requirement before marriage, it is something that couples need to consider because of:
- Their number of assets that almost always include their family, relatives, and ancestors. If some members of the family are not comfortable having an unrelated person included in their list of beneficiaries, a prenuptial agreement saves them from that trouble.
- Business ownership and shares. If you are part of a corporation that does not accept your future spouse as a business partner, you can nip the concern in the bud by executing a prenuptial agreement that specifies your spouse’s claim or share in the business.
- Debts. Did you know that in Article 122 of the Family Code, it actually states that whatever unpaid debts that your boyfriend or girlfriend incurred before you got married may be charged against your partnership assets and you may be compelled by law to pay for these? Yes, it does! So, to save you from the hassle of having to pay for your spouse’s obligations before you got married, execute a prenuptial agreement that covers this.
- Inheritances of children from previous relationships. If you do not have a will or prenuptial agreement, your legitimate children will get twice as much as your illegitimate children and there is nothing you can do about it. You can supersede this by executing a prenuptial agreement where your children can have equal shares of your assets and properties.
A prenuptial agreement saves you from the headache and heartache of dividing your properties should the marriage fail. This could also mean less legal expenses because your lawyers need only to execute what is stated in your prenup — instead of battling it out in court.
How do I execute a prenuptial agreement?
You may consult a lawyer who can help you define the contents your prenuptial agreement. This is so much more economical and practical to do at the onset of your engagement (although, of course we all wish to live happily ever after with the person we chose to marry) than, as mentioned above, hire a lawyer who will fight for your property rights in court should your marriage not succeed later on.
Having a prenuptial agreement does not mean you are anticipating your marriage to end sooner than expected. Neither is it something that should only be done by well-to-do couples or those who come from de campanilla families only. A prenuptial agreement is an honest, practical way to safeguard your assets — your properties and your relationship with the person you will marry, that is. And even when you do not think of yourself as rich or well-to-do at the time of your engagement, you never know how you could grow your finances later on. A prenuptial agreement will help you and your spouse manage your future assets fairly.
I hope these pieces of information helps you understand prenuptial agreements better. The information used in this article are based on the Family Code of the Philippines.