Getting engaged and planning a wedding is a happy and exciting time for couples. In all their planning, however, many couples do not consider entering a prenuptial agreement. Although it may seem like an uncomfortable conversation to have while planning the happiest day of their lives, discussing a prenuptial agreement gives couples the opportunity to talk about their financial goals, their attitudes toward money, their spending and saving habits, and their accrued debts. With financial issues being one of the leading causes of divorce in Madison County, it can be beneficial to have these financial conversations prior to getting married.
What is a prenuptial agreement?
Also known as a prenup, a prenuptial agreement is a written contract between two marrying individuals that states how the couple would like certain issues decided should the marriage end by death or divorce. Prenuptial agreements will be unique to each couple who seeks one. Most prenuptial agreements will include a list of assets, debts, and children’s inheritance. However, individual agreements can be modified to fit the needs of each couple. It is important for the couple to be open and truthful during this process. Should someone lie or omit information in the process of creating the prenuptial agreement, the agreement would be void and unenforceable.
Who should get a prenuptial agreement?
A common misconception is that prenuptial agreements are only for the rich and wealthy. However, any couple with assets, debts, potential business interests, or children from another relationship may benefit from a prenuptial agreement which can ensure that a future divorce, whether a divorce in Calhoun County or anywhere else in Alabama, will not end up costing you any assets or financial interests that you had prior to the marriage.
What is included in a prenuptial agreement?
Alabama state law restricts what can and cannot be included in prenuptial agreements. A few things that are often included in prenuptial agreements are:
- Items that are specified as separate and marital property. Alabama law determines what types of property comprise separate and marital property. In cases of separation, the court will separate all the marital property according to state laws. A prenuptial agreement can allow couples to delineate each party’s assets and avoid having the court determine this for them.
- Protection for each spouse from the other’s previous debt. Without a prenuptial agreement, creditors may go after marital, even if the debt was acquired prior to the marriage.
- Provisions for providing for kids from previous relationships. If one party has kids from a previous relationship, a prenuptial agreement can ensure that they inherit some of the assets from said party in the event of death.
- Directions for property distribution in the event of a divorce. Alabama law determines who gets what in the event of a divorce. By entering a prenuptial agreement, couples can come to an agreement about how their property will be distributed in the event of a divorce.
Are prenuptial agreements helpful? They are intended to address monetary issues, not private domestic issues. A few things that may not be included in a prenuptial agreement are:
- Child custody or child support agreements. Child custody is awarded based on the needs of the child at the time of the custody dispute, making it impossible to know ahead of time which parent should be awarded custody. Additionally, child support is assigned to the child, not the parent, meaning that child support can only be awarded to the custodial parent.
- Information about personal issues. This may include things such as requiring one party to retain certain physical attributes, setting a required amount of sexual intercourse, or assigning one party domestic duties.
How much does a prenuptial agreement cost?
The cost of prenuptial agreements will vary based on the needs of the couple and the complexity of the agreement. If you are looking at getting a prenuptial agreement, give our divorce attorneys in Birmingham a call so that we can set up a consultation today and get you a quote.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, and real estate closings on this website. He is always available in any of the firm’s offices or by phone anytime for a consultation. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply any feedback. We appreciate our readers and love to hear from you!