What to Include in a Prenuptial Agreement
Prenuptial agreements are created to protect certain rights or address certain concerns of each member of a couple before marriage. These generally include each spouse’s financial responsibilities in the marriage, how assets will be allocated between the couple, the financial rights of each spouse, and how the property and assets acquired during marriage will be divided if there is ever a divorce.
The following list details what areas your attorney may address in a prenuptial agreement. The skilled Atlanta penup attorneys at Kessler & Solomiany, LLC is ready to answer any questions you might have regarding these stipulations.
- Business: If you or your partner plan to invest in or own a business, you can outline how much of the business and its profits each spouse is entitled to. You can also include stipulations about how much to invest, how to invest, and other financial considerations.
- Estate planning: Even though it is a good idea to have a will, it is also beneficial to outline how you want your assets handled should you die before your spouse.
- Saving and spending strategies: Before you get married, it is wise to detail how you and your spouse intend to approach saving and spending. Clarifying your strategies for investing and saving for retirement can be helpful in avoiding any future disagreement.
- Retirement accounts: Typically, contributions to pensions and 401(k)s are shared between spouses. If you wish to keep these separate or designate how they should be divided, include these specifics in your agreement.
- Confidentiality Agreements: These agreements can ensure that anything said or done during your marriage (or potential divorce proceedings) remains confidential.
- Provisions for children from previous relationships: Although child support is generally not included in a prenup, you can provide certain provisions for your children from a previous relationship.
Other financial issues to consider include:
- Income deductions and filing tax returns: Designating which spouse will manage the responsibility of paying taxes and how they will do so.
- Management of household bills and joint accounts: You and your spouse should agree on how to divide up the responsibilities for paying bills and expenses. This may also include stipulations regarding the management of credit card accounts.
- Contributing to savings: In your prenuptial agreement, you can determine how much each spouse will contribute to a joint or individual savings account.
- Putting the other spouse through school: To ensure that your finances remain sound, you and your spouse may agree on stipulations if one or both of you wish to go back to school.
- Investing in projects: Investing in a house or business can be a big financial step for many couples. If you have concerns regarding investments, you can address these in your prenuptial agreement.
- Spending allowances: Some couples, especially those with unequal incomes, may choose to set spending allowances for each spouse to ensure financial security.
You may also include provisions about what to do in the event of a divorce in your prenuptial agreement, including:
- Protection against spouse’s debts: Many people choose to stipulate that they will not be responsible for their spouses’ debts in order to protect their own financial stability.
- Property division: In the event of a divorce, one of the most commonly contested matters is property. If you already own your own business, you can designate it (and any increase in its value) as your separate property to ensure that you retain these assets after a divorce. It is also a good idea to arrange an agreement with your spouse to ensure you retain pieces of property that are important to you. For example, if there is a certain property or an asset that you wish to set aside for your children, you have the ability to include this in your prenuptial agreement. Possession of things like pets or family heirlooms can additionally be included in your agreement.
- Spousal gifts: If your spouse gives you a gift that you would like to keep in the event of a divorce, you can outline your claim to these items in your agreement. This might also include your engagement and/or wedding rings.
- Alimony: Alimony is awarded to a spouse, in the event of a divorce, if they have a smaller income than their significant other and/or have sacrificed aspects of their career to take care of children. Before you get married, you can determine what these payments might look like.
- Attorney fees: Consulting lawyers to obtain a divorce can be expensive. Outlining what you will each pay for lawyers’ fees can eliminate future confusion should you decide to split.
There are limitations as to what you can include in a prenuptial agreement. What can and cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement varies from state to state. The decision about whether or not to include certain provisions is ultimately determined by a judge. The following categories are typically not approved:
- Child support and custody: Child support and child custody are traditionally not included in prenuptial agreements. A lot can change during the course of a marriage, and the circumstances surrounding your family’s relationships may change. Consequently, issues of child support and custody are typically determined after a divorce is initiated in order to protect the children.
- Stipulations that are not financial: Some people wish to include stipulations about appearance in their prenuptial agreement, including penalties for weight gain or certain clothing choices. Others may call for requirements as to how often you will engage in sex or how long in-laws are able to visit. Most stipulations that do not relate to financial assets are not able to be included in a prenuptial agreement. This also includes provisions about daily tasks and responsibilities, such as who will wash the dishes or who will pick up the kids from school.
- Encouragement of separation or divorce: Your prenuptial agreement cannot encourage separation. For example, you may not say “if you do x, y, or z, I can get a divorce.”
The experienced family law professionals at Kessler & Solomiany, LLC are here to answer any questions you may have regarding the specifics of your prenuptial agreement. Our knowledgeable prenuptial agreement lawyers can help clarify any of these categories and help you decide what stipulations will put your upcoming marriage on the path to success. Contact our legal team today at (404) 688-8810 for a completely confidential initial consultation.