If marriage is in your near future, you may be considering whether to write up a prenuptial agreement. Depending on your situation, having a prenup may be a good idea.
If a couple is entering into a marriage with considerable individual assets, or if one of the partners owns a business, a prenuptial agreement protects these assets.
Benefits of a prenuptial agreement
According to the U.S. News and World Report, there are numerous benefits to having a prenup, even for couples that do not have a lot to start with. A prenuptial agreement is advantageous for those entering into second marriages, especially if there are children from previous relationships. A prenup is also a good idea if you have family heirlooms, a beloved pet, or a sentimental item that you want to stay in the family.
Although a prenuptial agreement protects individual assets, it is also beneficial if one or both future spouses have significant debt, because it prevents one spouse from being responsible for any of the debt in the event of divorce.
Some couples want to avoid discussing a prenuptial agreement because they think it increases the chances of divorce. However, discussing items that normally go into a prenup can make the couple stronger. It forces them to talk about hard financial issues and gives each partner an idea of how the other one handles finances. It encourages full transparency.
What to include in a prenuptial agreement
FindLaw discusses some common elements found in prenuptial agreements:
- Debt protection
- Separate and marital property distinctions
- Property distribution upon divorce
- Spousal responsibilities descriptions
- Inheritance protections
- Estate plan protections
A prenup cannot outline issues regarding child custody or support. Some states do not allow a waiver of alimony rights. The agreement also cannot contain provisions that encourage divorce or contain anything illegal.