If a wedding is on your horizon, you may be considering a prenuptial agreement. While many people believe that prenuptial agreements are only necessary for those with massive wealth or assets, a prenup can actually be a helpful tool for couples of all income levels. Although no one plans to divorce when they get married, it is impossible to know the future—and for that reason, a prenuptial agreement can give you peace of mind and help you protect your assets.
Alimony and Spousal Support
You can add provisions for alimony or spousal support to your prenuptial agreement. This is helpful if there is a significant earning disparity, since it allows the lower-earning partner to feel secure regardless of what happens in the future. You may also want to put limits on alimony in the prenuptial agreement. For example, you might say that alimony is only guaranteed if the marriage lasts a certain amount of time.
Division of Assets and Debts
This can be an extremely contentious topic during divorce, and it’s often much easier for couples to make these decisions ahead of time. You may want to specify which assets belong to you as a couple and which assets belong to each of you individually. You could also outline how future assets are to be divided. For example, if one partner is the breadwinner and one partner does not work, you may choose to split future retirement earnings based on a percentage of total income.
Don’t forget to consider each individual’s debts while outlining your prenuptial agreement. This is particularly important if one or both individuals have substantial student loan debt. You may also want to account for mortgages on homes brought into the marriage, credit card debt, and medical debt.
Decisions Regarding Family Property
If one spouse owns part of a family business, you may want to include it in your prenuptial agreement. Doing so ensures that the business would stay with the family after divorce, rather than being split between the spouses. You can take the same approach with inheritances, antiques, and family heirlooms.
Estate Plan Details
Prenuptial agreements aren’t just useful during divorce. They can also be beneficial if one partner passes away during the course of the marriage. Property division is much easier with a prenuptial agreement, as it eliminates the risk of property being mis-categorized and distributed incorrectly.
So far, everything discussed is what can be included in a prenuptial agreement. Next, let’s take a look at what you cannot include in a prenuptial agreement:
You cannot dictate child custody terms in a prenuptial agreement. Child custody, while typically agreed on by the parents, is only approved by the judge when it is in the children’s best interests. Since child custody pertains to the children’s rights, not just the parents’ rights, it cannot be decided in a prenuptial agreement.
On the same note, child support cannot be limited or waived in a prenuptial agreement. People may try to waive child support in a prenup by offering more alimony or stating that each parent much cover the children’s costs when they are in their care. However, child support is the child’s right, not the parents’ right, and it is determined based on the child’s best interests. For that reason, parents cannot waive child support in a prenuptial agreement.
Plan for Your Future Now with Coumanis & York
A prenuptial agreement can be difficult to discuss with your future spouse, but it is also an excellent way to protect your future and lay the groundwork for a strong marriage. If you’re considering a prenuptial agreement, we can help. Take the first step now and learn more about your options by setting up a consultation. Give us a call at 251-990-3038 or get in touch with us online to and discuss your legal needs.