If you and your partner have decided to make your relationship legal, you will undoubtedly be super-busy with all the details to make your special day truly memorable. The last thing on your mind might be a legal document intended to provide guidance for a possible separation, but creating a prenuptial agreement should be a high-priority item on your to-do list. Read on for more information about how important a prenuptial agreement could be for you and your fiance.
What Should A Prenuptial Agreement Cover?
You and your partner can create a custom-made agreement that addresses the issues that matter the most to you; there are virtually no legal requirements about its content. Most prenuptial agreements will cover such issues as:
- Property owned by each party and how the property will be treated after the marriage.
- Debts held by each party and how the debt will be treated after the marriage.
- How joint property and debt will be treated after the marriage, in the event of a divorce.
- How private property and debt will be treated after the marriage, in the event of a divorce.
- How household debt will be handled (who pays what recurring household bills).
- How various savings instruments, such as retirement, educational and savings accounts, will be funded.
- Make provisions for children from previous relationships in the event of a death. You should not use this as a substitute for a proper will, but in the event of a challenge to an inheritance, the prenuptial could serve as a reinforcement of the deceased's wishes.
What Should A Prenuptial Agreement Not Do?
- Do not address provisions relating to child support, custody or visitation (in the event of a separation or divorce). The courts hold that state law must supersede any privately-held agreements so that the best interests of the child may be taken into account.
- Do not create a prenuptial agreement that was forced or coerced. If later proven to be the case, the agreement can be nullified.
- In some states, you may not address spousal support in the event of a separation or divorce.
- Do not address frivolous issues like chores, childrens' names, what type of house you will live in, etc. Stick to financial issues.
- Do not conceal assets or debt from your fiance when creating your prenuptial agreement. Begin your marriage with honesty.
- Do not craft an agreement that is conspicuously unfair to the other party, it may not hold up if challenged in court.
As you may have noted from the list of important issues that are recommended for inclusion in your prenuptial agreement, these are issues that all couples should address before marriage. Take this opportunity to discuss your financial concerns with your partner, and contact a family law attorney (such as Margit M. Hicks, PA Attorney at Law) for more state-specific guidance on creating a fair and comprehensive prenuptial agreement for your relationship.