Prenuptial agreements are often somewhat controversial because it can seem like a couple is preparing for a divorce before their marriage even begins. While a prenuptial agreement does not make divorce more likely, it does allow couples to decide their financial destiny if they were to get divorced. So what is a prenuptial agreement and what does it include?
What is a prenuptial agreement?
A prenuptial agreement, also called a prenup or a marital agreement, is a contract between two people who plan on getting married. This contract decides how they will handle finances, property division, alimony, etc. if they do get a divorce eventually.
Who should get a prenuptial agreement?
People often think that prenuptial agreements are for the extremely wealthy, however, there can be benefits to having a prenuptial agreement for just about any couple. If you have assets from before the marriage that you would like to protect, a prenuptial agreement is a perfect way to do so. Premarital assets can include anything you owned before the marriage, inheritances to your children from previous relationships, or business interests. Prenuptials can also be extremely helpful in the case of divorce because you have already decided ahead of time on the division of assets and even alimony!
What does a prenuptial agreement cover?
A prenuptial agreement can cover a variety of issues including:
- Division of premarital assets
- What marital property is and how to divide it
- Division of employee benefits or retirement plans in the case of a divorce
- How any debt, including mortgage debt, will be divided in the case of a divorce
- What will happen to a life insurance policy in the case of a divorce
- How property will be divided and managed
- The amount of alimony paid and to whom
While a prenuptial agreement can cover all of the above topics, it CANNOT determine child custody. A judge will decide this if a divorce happens, based on the best interest of the child at that moment in time. The same goes for child support.
Is my prenuptial agreement amendable?
Yes! It is possible to change a prenuptial agreement, however, the amendment will need to be put in writing and signed by both parties. A prenuptial agreement can also be revoked in this manner.
It is also important to note that, during divorce proceedings, the judge has the ability to rule the prenuptial agreement “unconscionable”. This will only happen in extreme circumstances, like if one spouse would be left unable to support themselves if the prenuptial agreement was carried out as intended. This is very uncommon, even when the agreement is somewhat one-sided.
All in all, a prenuptial agreement is perfect for protecting any assets you may have had before your marriage or any assets your children may have! It is a great idea to protect yourself and your children, even if you can’t imagine yourself getting divorced!