Prenuptial Agreements: What They Can And Can't Do


If you are getting married in the near future, it can make smart financial sense to enter into a prenuptial agreement. Regardless of what some people may believe, a prenuptial agreement is considered a legally-binding contract that does not end your marriage before it begins. Instead, it is simply a private contract between you and your spouse that essentially acts similar to that of an insurance policy. A prenuptial agreement clearly outlines how you and your spouse would like things to be handled regarding property and other things in the event that your marriage dissolves in the future. Here are a few things you should know about what a prenuptial agreement can and cannot do.

What a Prenuptial Agreement Can Do

Protects Each Other from Each Other's Debts

The prenup can limit the debt liability of each spouse. This ensures that creditors are unable to go after all marital property if one spouse accumulates a significant amount of debt and is unable to pay it back.

Protects Family Property

Couples can list inheritances, heirlooms, and other family-owned property in the agreement, which will ensure that the ownership of these items remain within their birth families.

Protects Children from Prior Relationships

If one of you have children from a previous marriage or relationship, a prenup can dictate what they are entitled to in terms of property, money, or other assets.

What a Prenuptial Agreement Cannot Do

Determine Child Custody or Child Support

Couples are unable to dictate anything about where (current or future) children will live if they end up getting divorced. Couples also are not permitted to include information regarding how much one spouse will pay the other in child support.

Outline Personal Obligations

It is not allowed for prenuptial agreements to outline parenting plans, split up household chores, or require either spouse to behave in a particular way.

Violate the Law

It is very important that the prenuptial agreement does not breach the law in any way. If it does, it won't hold up in court. 

Prenuptial agreements can help couples start the conversation about their finances. It is important that you both keep your emotions out of the equation when you start talking about a prenuptial agreement—and definitely when you start drafting one. Your prenup should be reasonable and enforceable. Talk to a family law attorney in your area to help you get a prenuptial agreement drafted that meets both of your needs—now and in the future.


9 December 2018

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