Everything You Need to Know about Prenuptial Agreements

A pretty blonde businesswoman thinkingWhile not legally necessary to have in place before marriage, once in place it is legally binding.  Also known as a prenup, this legal document is a safeguard in the event your marriage falls into the half of all marriages that end in divorce.  Compared to what you would spend on your marriage, prenups are for the most part inexpensive and there is no downside to never needing it.

Who Is a Prenup for?

Notorious for wealthy people to utilize as a resource for protection of their assets, anyone can set a prenuptial agreement in place.  It isn’t just for protection in the event of a divorce, it can address other vital interests such as

–          Some end of life decisions that impact estate plans and keep family inheritance in the family.

–          Distribution of financial responsibilities such as contributions to savings and retirement funds and management of joint accounts and household bills.

–          Responsibility of debts to ensure one spouse does not get left with the burden of the other’s.

Do You Need an Attorney?

Prenuptial agreements cannot be approached from a DIY perspective.  They must be signed by a judge to be valid and judges review them with scrutiny to ensure they can be upheld.  There are laws specific to each state that must be kept in the prenup if they are to be upheld at all.  In order to enforce a prenup, there must be civil proceedings.  If the necessary steps are not taken ahead of time, the prenup will not be acknowledged.  So, yes, each future spouse will need their own attorney to review the document to ensure both are being protected.

What Cannot Be Put in a Prenup

Prenups are subject to the state laws they are issued in.  There are many things that can be put into place, but a few things that cannot.

–          Nothing illegal can be outlined.  While this may seem a tad too obvious, there are many legal aspects specific to each state that do not necessarily reflect intentional criminal activity.

–          Nothing that waves a spouse’s right to receive alimony.  There are a few states that still allow this, but most do not.

–          Nothing that sets forth child support amounts, or custody allocation

–          Nothing that includes personal preferences

–          Nothing that would encourage divorce

A prenup is solely for financial protection of each spouse and any children, present and future.

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