By Mike Stetzer
Prenuptial agreements are contracts between spouses that outline the financial plans in the event of a divorce or death. These agreements may also be called premarital agreements, antenuptial agreements or prenups. Without a prenuptial agreement, the state decides how assets and debts are divided when a couple is filing for divorce.
Although prenuptial agreements aren't the final word in a divorce, if the agreement is executed properly, it can have a significant impact on the divorce court's ruling. In most states, the divorce court will recognize the prenuptial agreement if it includes:
These are the basic regulations that prenuptial agreements must follow to be recognized in divorce courts, but each state has unique specifications. A divorce lawyer should know what to include in a prenuptial agreement to help ensure that your rights and property are protected. Divorce attorneys can be a good resources because they have experience with issues that usually cause problems during the divorce.
Prenuptial agreements can benefit people in a variety of circumstances, especially those who:
Prenuptial agreements can outline the financial terms of a marriage, such as:
Prenups generally can't outline non-financial matters, child custody or support obligations and matters that would violate divorce laws in your state. Some prenuptial agreements include a sunset clause, which allows the prenup to expire after a certain number of years of marriage. The sunset clause highlights that the prenuptial agreement may not be needed, so some couples feel more comfortable entering into the prenup.
It's recommended that prenuptial agreements be prepared well in advance of a wedding. This allows both parties enough time to agree on fair terms and may prevent divorce courts from suspecting coercion.
Once a couple has decided to create a prenuptial agreement, the legal issues must be addressed. Both parties should hire a lawyer to draft a prenuptial agreement that keeps each party's best interest in mind. Some prenups have been declared null and void by divorce courts because one spouse didn't have legal representation.
If you're interested in drafting or learning more about a prenuptial agreement, you can find a divorce lawyer in your area by filling out a divorce case review form or calling 877-349-1310. Set up a preliminary consultation today to make sure your rights are protected in your prenuptial agreement.
The above synopsis of prenuptial agreements is by no means all-inclusive is not intended to serve as legal advice. These laws may have changed since our last update and there may be additional laws that apply in your situation. For the latest information on these laws, please contact a local divorce lawyer in your area.