Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements are binding contracts that prospective spouses make before getting married. These contractual agreements may cover a multitude of issues that arise during the marriage or in the event of a divorce or separation. Whether to have a prenuptial agreement is a personal decision that should be carefully thought out and prepared with the involvement of both parties.

There are both benefits and drawbacks to having a prenuptial agreement. Prenuptial agreements can help separate and protect your property, create rules for future decisions, and help avoid conflict and expensive, time-consuming divorce procedures. While negotiating a prenuptial agreement can be difficult and unromantic, in many cases it actually strengthens a relationship and urges good communication in your marriage.

Every state has its own laws and statutes that govern property rights after a divorce. Many states divide marital and community property equitably in the event of a divorce or death of one spouse. Others will divide property based on a number of case-specific circumstances. Prenuptial agreements allow you and your spouse to make your own decisions when it comes to dividing your property and assets.

Prenuptial agreements do not only cover issues that occur if you separate or get a divorce. In many cases, prenuptial agreements are drafted in order to establish the responsibilities of each spouse during marriage. There are a number of uses for a prenup, depending on your specific situation. Some common prenup topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Who will pay the household bills
  • Agreements about certain purchases like buying a home or starting a business
  • Agreements to set aside a specific amount of money for savings
  • Agreements about separate or joint bank accounts
  • Estate planning
  • Allotting income and deductions on tax returns

While prenuptial agreements are a way for couples to form legally binding agreements, some things may not be established in a prenup contract. For example, arrangements regarding child custody, visitation rights, and child support agreements will not be upheld in any state.

Furthermore, many non-financial issues cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement. Personal matters such as decisions about birth control, having and raising children, use of last names after the marriage, and responsibility of pets should be handled separately.

If you and your partner are considering having a prenuptial agreement, it is necessary to seek the help of a qualified family law attorney. An attorney will inform you of the laws of your state, draft your prenup, and help protect your legal rights and interests. Please contact us today to speak with an experienced attorney free of charge or to learn more information about your legal rights and options.