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In modern societies, the practice of signing a prenuptial agreement has become common. Essentially, such agreements are legal contracts that impose specifications about the manner in which property is distributed in cases when a marriage is terminated, annulled, or in the instance where one spouse dies (Cheeseman 716). Most often, a prenuptial agreement is signed by partners who have separate professional careers or who possess significant assets which were acquired before the marriage. Such an agreement also benefits children from a previous marriage, ensuring that they would receive a portion of the assets if the remarrying spouse passes away. The primary disadvantage of the prenuptial agreement is that no one can foresee the problems that might occur in the course of a marriage, thus the agreement simply cannot cover everything, as demonstrated in the case discussed below (Beners & Syvret 2).
Separate and Marital Property
Assets that a spouse brings to the marriage are considered separate property and include gifted and inherited assets. Assets that the couple acquires during the marriage are considered marital property. Within the marital property framework, there is a concept of community property that states all assets acquired in the course of the marriage are considered marital property (Cheeseman 718). There is no demarcation regarding which spouse earned more or earned less: the states that follow the community property legislation declare all marital assets should be divided equally between spouses.
Child and Spousal Support
Spousal support, or alimony, is awarded by the court so that one spouse provides monthly payments to the other. Types of alimony range from temporary to permanent, depending on circumstances. While temporary alimony is paid to a spouse to assist in getting by during divorce proceedings (DC Bar 1), permanent alimony is paid to a spouse who has not been able to develop the skills and competencies necessary to get a job. The concept of permanent alimony should be modified since many individuals simply choose not to work after a divorce and instead decide to rely on spousal support. The court should determine whether a spouse is able to work and then decide whether alimony should – or should not be paid. Child support is payment from the non-custodial parent for the child’s shelter, food, clothing, and other necessities. The Family Support Act (1994) prevents non-custodial parents from avoiding payments and makes certain that the monthly amount is withdrawn automatically from his or her wages (Ahsan 157).
Ethics Case Analysis
The ethics case of Nagib Giha and Nelly Giha is directly related to the distinction between separate and community property. The wife sued her husband for an equal share of his lottery winnings, claiming that the lottery assets were marital. In this case, the date on which the husband won the lottery plays a crucial role (Bird par. 2). Since he won the lottery on December 25th and the court did not terminate the marriage until April 27th of the following year, the won funds can be considered marital property. On the other hand, despite the fact that both parties decided to equally divide their assets, the Massachusetts state legislation does not imply community division of property. The law demands that the assets are divided equitably, but not necessarily equally, as the wife desired. In this case, there is unethical action on the part of the wife, despite her indeed being eligible for a portion of the lottery assets (Bishop par. 1).
Ahsan, Nilofer. “The Family Preservation and Support Services Program.” The Future of Children 6.3 (1996): 157-160. 1996.
Benest & Syvret. Prenuptial Agreements. n.d. PDF file. 2016. Web.
Bishop, Susan. Massachusetts Divorce: Dividing Property. n.d. Web.
Bird, Beverly. Does My Wife Get Half of My Lotto Winnings if I Divorce Her? n.d. Web.
Cheeseman, Henry. Contemporary Business Law. 8th ed. 2014. Boston, MA: Pearson. Print.
DC Bar. Help Yourself: Alimony in DC. n.d. PDF file. Web.