BREAKING UP. Rights and obligations with prenuptial agreement.Written by Jeffrey Broobin
Prenuptial Agreements (Premarital Contract) are like insurance policies. You do paperwork, and then hope you'll never need it. However, since half of marriages end in divorce within first seven years, you may want to consider a prenuptial agreement before you walk down aisle and say, "I do."
Since you could later be engaged in a nasty, costly, and emotionally draining divorce some day, you should consider a prenuptial agreement as a precaution. Below we have given you some information on what is in a prenuptial agreement and whether it could be useful for you.
A prenuptial or ante nuptial agreement is a document signed by two people who intend to be married. It describes their rights and obligations should they get divorced. A prenuptial agreement informs court how they want their assets and property divided up.
Divorces become messy when parties cannot agree on distribution of property, such things as house, house, stocks, and bonds and whether one party should pay other alimony, now known as "maintenance" in most states. Assume that husband has $1,000,000 in his own name prior to marriage. A properly drafted prenuptial agreement can award that same $1,000,000 to him after a divorce, notwithstanding what he does with money, such as purchasing a home in joint tenancy or shifting money into other accounts. Without a prenuptial agreement, wife might be entitled to one-half of $1,000,000 or more, depending on financial circumstances of parties at time of divorce. The prenuptial agreement is a powerful and valuable tool that can favor husband, protect wife, or serve both of them fairly. It is a question of circumstances and intentions.
Candidates for prenuptial agreements used to be just older individuals with huge estates that they wanted to protect from gold diggers for their children from previous marriages. Since more millionaires are born every day, candidate pool is growing by leaps and bounds. Now everybody has something to protect: an unpublished author, budding inventor, anybody with a lucrative profession or a good idea. So, before you dismiss idea of a prenuptial agreement, assess your situation in life and your long-term future in deciding whether a prenuptial agreement is right for you.
Consider at length nature and extent of your present and possible future assets. A prenuptial agreement can be a very simple document running only a few pages that segregates each party's assets owned before marriage, or it can be a very complicated document that runs dozens of pages because it deals with income and assets acquired during marriage, payment of debts, attorneys' fees, alimony/maintenance, and other financial matters. The next hurdle is raising issue with your intended spouse, a very unromantic event. It helps to get it over with early. Perhaps you could blame it on someone else, such as your parents who may want to involve you in a family business, or possible business partners.
Protect Your Job & WagesWritten by Susan Chana Lask, Esq.
When people call me about employment issues they don't realize one important law- in almost every state you are terminable at will. That means that your employer can fire you anytime and for no reason at all. The only way you are protected from being fired on spot without notice is if you have a contract of employment. A contract of employment must be in writing and should specify your length of employment, salary, terms of employment, vacation, bonus calculations, basis of termination and any warnings to be given (make it at least 3 warnings if you can) prior to termination and must be signed by your employer, among other things.
Now, most people never get employment contracts because their employers do not want to lose right to terminate you with or without cause. But there is a saving grace--if your employer wrote an intial offer of employment letter and you commenced employment based on that letter, you can use terms in that letter as your contract of employment. Hopefully letter spells out your salary and length of employment because there are cases where if your fired before end of term in that letter than you can be due balance of your salary for that term. So, if your salary was $40,000 for year and offer of employment letter states your term is 1 year then if your fired in first 2 months, your due balance of 10 months salary. And if your employer has an Employee Handbook with rules and regulations therein (usually terms of termination, warnings, vacation pay) then that Handbook is also a binding "contract" of employment. Read terms of your Handbook because it may spell out how and when you can be terminated which may or may not be good for you depending on whether or not it limits employer's liability for terminating you. On other hand, if Handbook has terms regarding certain pre-warning procedures before terminating you an dthose procedures were not followed , then you can enforce those procedures as terms of your contract. If your employer breached those terms he most likely must re-instate your employment and follow those procedures before terminating you.
The most important part of your employment is getting paid, so if your employer fires you and refuses to pay you what you understand to be due you, then use your Offer Letter and Employee Handbook as your "contract" of employment. The employer must follow any terms in those documents. There are also labor laws in each state that require payment for overtime, limited hours of work for certain jobs and notice of your termination date and your health insurance termination dates and proper notice is required as to how to extend your health benefits ("COBRA"). Also, law specify that an employer must pay you at least every two weeks, so if your fired and employer doesn't send your last check to you on time an dholds it back-he violated labor laws and can be held liable to you for extra money you pay to recover your wages.