If you are ready to tie the knot with someone you love, getting a prenup might not be first on your to-do list. Many of us associate prenups with the uber-wealthy, and while a prenup is not for everyone, most divorce attorneys recommend getting a prenuptial agreement regardless of income. Although a prenuptial agreement has many benefits, there are some drawbacks.
What is Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a written contract created and signed by two people prior to getting married. The primary goal of a prenup is to determine how assets will be divided in the case of a divorce. However, a prenup can also be utilized to clarify financial rights, get protection from debts, pass property to children from a previous marriage, and avoid arguments if divorce does occur. If a marriage does end, having a prenuptial agreement can help protect both parties from emotional and financial distress.
What can you Include in a Prenup?
Laws regarding prenuptial agreements vary from state to state. However, most states allow you to include the following in a prenup:
- Property Division: Property division is the most common reason people sign prenups.
- Financial Terms: Prenups allow a couple to create terms that clarify financial rights and responsibilities during marriage.
- Debt Protection: Prenuptial agreements can be used to protect spouses from each other’s debts.
- Terms to Settle Divorce: A clause stating that in case of divorce a couple will settle the divorce through mediation vs. taking it to court can be included in a prenup.
What you Cannot Include in a Prenup?
Certain language or terms in a prenuptial agreement will void the contract or disallow it to be held up in divorce court. The following conditions can not be included in a prenup:
- Any terms requiring Illegal Acts of a Spouse: A prenup cannot include any terms that require a spouse to do anything illegal.
- Any Unreasonable, Unjust, Deceptive Terms: You cannot put unreasonable terms in a prenup, for example you cannot require a spouse to produce a male offspring.
- No Terms Regarding Child Custody or Support: The court determines who has custody of the child based on the child’s best interest.
- Spousal Maintenance Requirements: This is only if the signing spouse opted out of receiving independent counsel
- Non-Financial Requirements: A prenup can not include any terms that require a spouse to lose weight or look a certain way.
Is a Prenup Right for You?
Prenuptial agreements are not for everyone, but obtaining a prenup can help you protect your rights in the case of divorce. However, bringing up the idea of signing a prenup with your future spouse may get the marriage off on the foot. If signing a prenuptial agreement is important to you, it’s necessary to discuss the matter with your potential spouse in a calm way and to be prepared for any reaction. If both parties decide getting a prenup is the right course of action, then make sure to take the proper steps to ensure that it is legally sound.