A prenup can include almost any financial decision you and your spouse agree to, including provisions about cheating and how property will be shared in the event of a divorce. Nevertheless, a prenup cannot include any “unconscionable” agreements about alimony, personal details, or decisions regarding child support or child custody.
What to Include in a Prenup
Prenuptial agreements are valuable for making distinctions between separate and marital property. If you are bringing assets into your marriage, and you want to specify that they are yours, you should include this in your prenup. You can also outline responsibilities regarding this property.
For example, if you own your house before you get married, you can specify that the house is separate property. You can also specify that you are responsible for all expenses related to the house, so there is no way the house can get tied into your marital property.
If you have a lot of debt, you should also outline debt liability in your prenup. You can take responsibility for paying your own debts, so creditors don’t go after your spouse if you die or get divorced.
Many couples have children from previous marriages and relationships and use prenuptial agreements to provide for their children. You can use a prenup to set aside some money for your children no matter what happens to you or your new marriage.
If you want to keep a family business, family heirloom, or future inheritance in your family, make sure to include provisions about this in your prenup. Prenups can also help you enhance your estate plan, which could help your spouse avoid painful disputes if you die.
Of course, prenups are mainly designed to help you and your spouse divide property if you get divorced, so be sure to include directions for the distribution of your property.
Otherwise, you could be left fighting over a sofa or lose important property to the state laws that govern property and divorce.
If you have any special circumstances (i.e., you plan to be a stay-at-home parent or you are putting your spouse through school), make sure to include them in your prenup.
In some states, you can also include conditional clauses for situations that might end a marriage. For example, your spouse could get half of everything in a divorce – unless they cheat.
What Not to Include in a Prenup
Do not include anything illegal in your prenup. This could put the whole document at risk.
Do not include any provisions related to child support or child custody. The court will need to review state guidelines and act in the best interests of your child(ren) at the time of your divorce.
Be careful about including alimony waivers, as they get struck down in many courts, particularly if the judge does not feel like waiving alimony is the right thing to do in your situation.
Do not include anything that incentivizes divorce. Prenups are designed to strengthen your marriage by giving each partner financial security, and judges will throw out prenups that make the idea of getting divorced appealing to one or both spouses.
Do include descriptions of spousal responsibilities, but do not include personal details. For instance, you can include provisions about managing household bills and expenses, but you cannot include provisions about chores.
Remember that prenuptial agreements are intended to address your finances before, during, and after marriage.
If the judge sees your prenup as “frivolous,” it is unlikely to be approved or enforced.
Prenups Can Strengthen Your Marriage – and Make Divorce Less Dramatic
Signing a prenuptial agreement with your spouse allows both of you to talk about financial issues before tying the knot. This can strengthen your relationship and making promises in a prenup can make both of you feel more secure about your finances.
In the United States, many marriages end in divorce. If you reach this point, the last thing you are going to want is a long, drawn-out, expensive battle in court. With a prenup, you and your spouse have already agreed on many of the most important issues in your divorce.
Cairns Law Offices makes family law as easy and affordable as it can be. If you would like to draft a prenup or enforce a prenup you signed before getting married, we can help.
Call us at (888) 863-9115 or contact us online for a free, confidential consultation.