Prenuptial agreements sometimes have negative connotations. The reality is, however, that prenuptial agreements merely allow couples to decide for themselves, in advance, how divorce-related issues should be determined if the couple ends up divorcing. Because there are a variety of benefits to having a prenuptial agreement, individuals planning on marrying may wonder what can be included in a prenuptial agreement. A variety of important topics and considerations may be covered by a prenuptial agreement.
Just as it is important to plan in advance for the wedding and make necessary arrangements before the big day, it is also important to address a prenuptial agreement well in advance of the marriage. To begin with, it is important to list all assets and debts. The couple will need to determine how to characterize their property, so as to determine if it will remain separate or be treated as marital property in the event of divorce. In addition, a determination of reimbursements, or status as gifts, for separate property contributions also should be considered.
A determination as to how to handle marital property, or property accumulated during marriage, should also be decided upon. Another important advance consideration may be the topic of alimony or spousal support that one party may have to pay the other in the event of a divorce. This issue can be very important, because the duration and amount of support may be essential to one’s financial situation following a divorce. It can also be helpful to discuss what each partner thinks concerning non-monetary contributions to the household, such as caring for the household and child-rearing; parties also should consider how the length of the marriage may impact the prenuptial agreement and any of its provisions in the event of divorce.
There are a variety of important considerations that may be included in a prenuptial agreement and some may be more important to the couple, based on their needs, goals and circumstances. It is important to keep in mind that divorce-related determinations will either be made by the couple or by a judge applying state law, so understanding options can be beneficial for a couple who is contemplating marriage.
Source: American Bar Association, “Premarital Agreement Issues Checklist,” Diana Mercer, accessed Oct. 13, 2014