Prenuptial agreements can be a bit of a sticky topic. Many people consider them to be something only for celebrities or for people who aren’t committed to their relationship. That isn’t true. According to Tad Nelson & Associates, “what you really do when you have one of these agreements drafted is prevent a lot of trouble, stress and expense if, and only if, the marriage should fail.” So why would you sign a prenuptial agreement?
Divorce Can be Costly
It’s not surprising that divorce continues to remain at a high rate in the U.S. Nearly 50% of marriages will end in divorce and fighting it out with attorneys on both sides can be quite costly. Many couples have built a life for themselves before they get married. Signing a prenup can protect that life in case your marriage does end. There are a variety of reasons to initiate a prenup, some of which include:
- One partner is much wealthier than the other—A prenuptial agreement will help the wealthier spouse make sure that his or her partner is marrying them for the right reasons, and not just for the money.
- Avoid getting hit with huge alimony payments—In some states, this contract can be used to ensure that the amount of alimony awarded to your ex-spouse is not egregious.
- Protecting Your Business—When one person owns a business, they may wish to protect the company’s assets from future litigation.
What You Should Include in a Prenuptial Agreement
Some typical examples of what to include in a prenuptial agreement are:
- The purpose of the contract
- When the agreement takes effect
- How property will be divided
- What is considered joint or separate property
- Full financial disclosure of both parties
- How debts will be handled
- Tax implications for both parties
- Define who gets what upon the marital split
- Responsibilities of both parties during the marriage
Legally speaking, the laws don’t allow you to limit the amount of child support that will be awarded after a divorce. You also cannot specify how the children will be raised and who will get custody of them.
When a Divorce Attorney Can Help
Hiring an attorney who specializes in prenuptial contracts is the best thing to do when creating a prenup. As you talk with the attorney about what you want, they will draft a contract that fits the best interests of all the people involved. This is especially important if your prenuptial agreement has any requirements that are unconventional. In that case, the attorney can make sure that the request is legal binding and enforceable.