Getting married is one of the most exciting times of life. Most people get married because they want to share their life with the person they love most. But, while a wedding is a romantic and thrilling time, it can also be stressful. When you get married, you must consider many factors, such as how you’ll merge your two lives.
And, even if you’ve already been together for years, a legal marriage means you’ll have certain obligations to one another, such as shared assets. It makes sense to consider what would happen to your assets and resources if you were to get divorced.
When you’re about to get married, a prenuptial agreement might be the last thing on your mind. But, for many couples, these legal arrangements are the safest way to protect assets and ensure an amicable parting. While no one wants to plan for divorce, it’s still wise to have a plan, especially for couples with considerable assets.
If you’re considering a prenuptial agreement, here are the five things you should include, according to family and divorce lawyers.
- Identify Your Separate And Marital Assets
When drafting a prenup, working with an experienced lawyer is useful. Generally, there are limits to what this agreement can outline, so if you go outside of these bounds, the prenuptial agreement may not be upheld after divorce.
One of the first things to do in a prenup is to identify which assets were obtained before the marriage. By identifying which assets belong to who, it’s easier to split them up.
- Explain How Marital Assets Will Be Split
After you identify the separate assets versus the joint ones, you’ll need to outline how the shared assets will be split after the divorce. Depending on your state, the default is to divide marital assets 50/50 or through equitable distribution. But, if you agree on how to divide the joint assets ahead of time, you can avoid a nasty divorce with a long battle over these things.
- Include Who Will Be Responsible For Debts
Suppose one person has a lot of debt before entering into a marriage. In that case, a prenuptial agreement can protect the other person from incurring their financial obligations. As you set up the prenuptial agreement, both parties must include financial statements with their assets and debts. From there, the contract will outline who will be responsible for various debts if the marriage dissolves.
- Information On Spousal Support
Prenuptial agreements may also include information on spousal support agreements. These are included if one partner is responsible for staying home or raising children. Because this can create an imbalance of wealth or power, spousal support payments are meant to mitigate this after divorce. But, it is possible to write out how much spousal support would be given if the marriage ended.
Just remember that the prenup needs to be reviewed by a judge, so it’s best to ensure the agreement is relatively fair.
- Determine What Will Happen To Inheritance Money
If one party knows they will receive an inheritance or even heirlooms, the prenuptial agreement can lay out what will happen to these items or resources. The prenup can say that any special heirlooms must remain in the family and outline who gets to keep the inheritance money.
Should I Set Up My Own Prenup?
Finally, remember that prenuptial agreements can’t include things like child custody. To ensure your prenup is valid in the eyes of the law, it’s best to work with an experienced attorney who can help you through the process.