What Is a Prenuptial Agreement and 10 Topics It Should Address
While prenuptial agreements used to be fairly rare and only reserved for the rich and famous, an increasing number of couples are choosing to get prenups to safeguard their own financial security. At Alatsas Law Firm, we work with couples of all ages, backgrounds, and income brackets to determine exactly what should be in a prenup and which issues need to be addressed.
Here are some tips for how to write a prenup and 10 important topics that a prenuptial template should include to be prepared for the future.
What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?
A prenuptial agreement is a legal contract between two parties that outlines how assets would be divided in the event that a marriage ends. Getting a prenuptial agreement isn’t pessimistic about your commitment to your partner; it’s a proactive and responsible way to safeguard each of your assets and avoid time-consuming and emotionally charged disputes in the future. It is typically advisable to look into how to write a prenup if you own property or a business, have retirement accounts, have significant assets, have significant debt, or have children from prior relationships.
1. Marital and Solely-Owned Property
One of the most important things a prenuptial agreement template should discuss is property rights to distinguish what is shared and separate. Solely-owned property typically stays that way, while marital property is divided evenly.
2. Trusts and Inheritances
Trusts and inheritances that you had before marriage are usually considered separate assets and not at risk during a divorce. However, these assets could become co-mingled property if you deposit funds into a joint account, put a spouse’s name on a title, or use proceeds to renovate a shared home.
3. Allocating Assets to Children
A prenuptial agreement should also address how to allocate assets if either of you have children. Include provisions for what property, stocks, property, and other assets should go to shared children or children from separate relationships.
4. Bank Accounts and Credit Cards
Prenuptial agreements commonly describe what happens to joint bank accounts and credit cards if a marriage ends. Meanwhile, individual accounts and cards should remain separate and are not divided in a divorce.
5. Debt Accrued Prior to Marriage
While considering what should be in a prenup, think about the amount of debt you both have accumulated separately and together. If your spouse brings significant debt into the marriage, a prenup can ensure it stays with your spouse rather than you.
6. Spousal Responsibilities
Each spouse has rights and responsibilities if a marriage ends, so make sure to address any non-monetary responsibilities that are important to your relationship as well as the big financial ones.
7. Spousal Maintenance
A prenup can establish spousal maintenance and outline the type of support one spouse will provide the other in case of a divorce. This is especially important if one spouse chose not to work and earn an income in order to stay home and raise shared children.
8. Protections for Estate Plans
Creating a prenuptial agreement template is also a good opportunity to review your estate plan and revise wills, living trusts, and other estate plan documents as necessary based upon your changing relationship status.
9. Retirement Accounts
Retirement accounts and pensions may be subject to equitable distribution laws, so this is a very important matter to address in your prenup. In this way, you can protect your personal retirement savings to exempt these accounts from being considered marital property.
10. Provisions for Pets
Although child custody and visitation rights cannot be determined in a prenup, you can include provisions about who will take care of your beloved pets. Think about which of you would take care of your pets in the event of a divorce and get that decision in writing to avoid future confusion and fights.
For help drafting your prenuptial agreement, contact Alatsas Law Firm online or at 718-233-2903.