A prenup agreement is a legal contract that is signed by couples prior to marriage. If they agree to terms regarding the guidelines for the division of assets and debts should the marriage end in divorce, then they can move forward with the document. It is natural for some couples to be reluctant about signing a prenup, but it can often be to their benefit, particularly if there are sizable assets and debts that the spouses possess prior to their marriage. Additionally, there may be questions about what should be included in the agreement. This article will outline what a prenuptial agreement should contain, including how comprehensive you should be when creating the agreement with your family law attorney.
- Separate and marital property
Each spouse should include all separate property in their prenuptial agreement. If they do not, then they will have to deal with how their respective state distinguishes between separate and communal property should they get divorced. The designation of property should be so comprehensive that it includes the VIN number on their separate vehicles, a legal definition of the property they possess, and what to do with property that is acquired during the marriage. Some of the properties that you might not think about are things like family heirlooms, business shares which may or may not have been with your family members, and real estate. An airtight prenup agreement will be able to specify what will and what will not be considered, thus protecting each party’s assets in the event of a divorce.
- Savings and Spending Plans
It is generally wise for couples to have a financial plan for future events, like investments and retirement. Your prenup should also consider where income should go. Do you plan on having a joint or separate bank account? Will you have both types of accounts? Do you want to have certain spending allotments? All of these factors are worth planning for.
- Financial obligations
Similar to the previous category, your prenup can outline how the household expenditures are managed, including who will be in charge of managing the household finances. Additionally, financial obligations like individual debts are worth including in a prenup, since this will protect the debt-free spouse from having to assume the financial burdens of their partner.
- Rights of children from previous relationships
If you or your spouse have children from a previous marriage and you want to ensure that they have rights to your property and a portion, or whole, of your inheritance then you will want to get that in writing. Think about it like this: even before you create a will, who do you want to be covered in your retirement and estate planning policies? Spouses and children might have their own competing interests that you might not be able to predict.
- Alimony and/or Spousal Support
A prenup can circumvent state laws that would otherwise determine the amount of spousal support that would be due to either party in the event of a divorce, whether it’s a contested or uncontested divorce in Alabama. Though many people would prefer not to think about it, couples who are on their second or subsequent marriage might want the added protection in this context.
When drafting a prenup, the best way to ensure that these factors are enforceable is to have an experienced family law attorney assist you while conducting your negotiations with your future spouse. You should, ideally, have separate divorce lawyers in Auburn, or wherever you reside, to ensure that each of your interests are being met, and in doing so, your prenup will have a lesser chance of being challenged in a court should a challenge be levied.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, probate, and real estate closings on this website. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply feedback. We appreciate our readers & love to hear from you!