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Antenuptial Contract: What Happens if You Don't Have One?

Posted by LEISA WINTZ | Oct 24, 2023 | 0 Comments

a couple getting married

Marriage is a significant life event that brings love, commitment, and, in many cases, shared assets. While the emotional aspects are heartwarming, the financial side of marriage also deserves attention. One crucial aspect to consider in this regard is whether or not to have an antenuptial agreement. So, what does marrying without an antenuptial contract mean? Let's delve into this and explore the world of antenuptial contracts, what they entail, and how they affect your marriage.

Understanding the Antenuptial Contract

An, antenuptial contract, also known as prenuptial agreement (or prenup) is a legal arrangement made before marriage that outlines the division of assets and spousal support in the event of divorce.

Marriage Without an Antenuptial Contract

When you get married without an antenuptial contract, you are essentially entering into a default marital property regime, which can differ significantly from one jurisdiction to another. In many places, including some states in the United States, the default regime is known as “married in community of property.”

Married in Community of Property

Being married in community of property means that all your assets, liabilities, and debts become part of a communal estate shared equally between you and your spouse. This includes not only what you bring into the marriage but also everything acquired during the marriage. If you decide to divorce, the communal estate gets divided equally between the two of you, regardless of who brought what into the marriage.

Antenuptial Contract With Accrual

For those who want more control and a different financial arrangement, an antenuptial contract can be established after marriage. This contract can include the accrual system, which regulates the division of property upon divorce. The accrual system ensures that assets are distributed fairly, accounting for what each spouse brought into the marriage.

Benefits of an Antenuptial Agreement

So, what are the advantages of having an antenuptial contract? Several benefits include:

  • Financial Control: It allows you to define how your assets and debts will be handled during the marriage and upon divorce or death.
  • Protection: An antenuptial contract provides protection for both spouses, especially if one or both have significant assets before marriage.
  • Clarity: It creates clarity and reduces disputes in the event of a divorce or the death of one spouse.
  • Preservation of Family Wealth: If there are family businesses or assets you wish to protect for future generations, an antenuptial contract can be a valuable tool.

In the journey of marriage, every couple's path is unique. Whether you choose to marry with or without an antenuptial contract is a deeply personal decision. It's a choice that carries both emotional and financial implications. To ensure that your decisions align with your values and goals, and to navigate the legal intricacies with clarity, it's wise to seek professional guidance. Our experienced family law attorneys at Family Matters are here to help. We understand the complexities of marital agreements, including antenuptial contracts, and can provide the counsel you need to make informed decisions. Your future, your family, and your financial security matter. Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and let us assist you in building a foundation for a strong and secure marriage.

About the Author


Leisa Wintz originally began her career as a marriage and family therapist. Ms. Wintz went on to attend law school and started practicing family law in 2009. However, she quickly realized that many family law practices lacked the empathy and compassion she believed were necessary in order to achi...


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