What is a Prenuptial Agreement? Although it may seem pointless to prepare for divorce before marriage, it is convenient and necessary.
A prenuptial agreement is a contract between two people that is entered into prior to the marriage. The purpose of a prenup is to determine how assets should be divided in case the marriage gets dissolved.
What Should Be Included in the Prenup?
For the prenup to be a valid agreement recognized in court, there must be provisions included which are allowed under the law according to the state in which you entered the agreement. That is why it is best to hire a family law attorney to help you draft your prenuptial agreement to ensure its validity and compliance with the law.
Here are some general guidelines in drafting a valid prenup:
Both parties must fully disclose their financial obligations and assets. If any party withholds a significant financial statement such as another stream of income that the other party is not aware of it could render the prenup void.
All marital and separate property should be identified. Future obligations such as children’s education or individual debt acquired by the other spouse are things that can be outlined in the prenuptial agreement.
Other provisions you can include in the prenup are future gifts or inheritances like property or other assets you want to remain in the family and passed on to your children.
What Happens if the Marriage Ends?
A court will evaluate all separate and marital property. In community property states, they do an equitable distribution of assets for all marital property and split it 50/50. Separate property that was acquired prior to the marriage can be arguably kept by the respective spouses. Here is where a prenup can come in handy. The prenup will list the non-marital property and if part of the agreement was for each spouse to keep his or her separate property they acquired outside the marriage, a court will likely honor the agreement so long as it was entered in good faith.
What About Spousal Support?
In most cases of divorce, one spouse typically makes more than the other. In those instances, the supported spouse may be able to obtain spousal support which can be temporary or long-term depending on the need. If you would like to potentially avoid paying your spouse’s bills after the marriage ends, you can include this sort of provision in your prenup.
What Things Can’t a Prenup Include?
While a prenup agreement saves a lot of time and stress regarding many financial aspects that go along with divorce, for all else, a court must decide.
Even with a prenuptial agreement, a court will still oversee the dissolution of the marriage. Child custody, child support, parenting time are not legally allowed to be included in the prenup.
Why Get a Lawyer?
Divorce is hard enough. A legal expert can help you come to an agreement that will take the financial stress and burden off a marriage’s unexpected end. If you are getting married and are contemplating getting a prenuptial agreement and are in need of experienced legal representation to assist you with these matters, call my office at (305) 250-4680 to learn more about prenuptial agreements and whether one is right for you and your future spouse.