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The Prenuptial Agreement Checklist

April 6th • 6 min read

If you are getting married in the near future, there is a lot to keep in mind. You are probably busy planning your rehearsal dinner, the wedding day, the reception, and your honeymoon. Despite these complexities, do not forget about the importance of a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is important because it can protect both parties assets in the event of a divorce, an unexpected death, or an unusual event that could threaten the finances of the family.

What is a prenuptial agreement and what should you include in it? By thinking about these issues ahead of time, you can save a lot of stress later.

What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

Also called a premarital agreement, a prenuptial agreement (shortened to prenup) is a legally binding agreement that is signed by both spouses before the marriage is official. The goal of this agreement is to protect each party individually from issues that could threaten their financial well-being. Essentially, this is an agreement that dictates how financial aspects of the marriage are going to be handled by each individual party.

Prenuptial agreements have been used for centuries, though they have changed significantly during the past few decades. Now, a lot of jurisdictions have laws that dictate how prenuptial agreements must be handled. Therefore, it is important to think about what should be in a prenuptial agreement. Additionally, is also critical to understand what is never included in a prenuptial agreement.

prenuptial agreement

Who Should Have a Prenuptial Agreement?

Not everyone needs to have a prenuptial agreement. On the other hand, there is a common misconception that prenups are only for families with a significant amount of money. This is not necessarily true. Some of the most common situations where a couple should consider a prenuptial agreement include:

  • If there is a separate property from prior marriages that is being passed to children, it is important to specify how this property is passed down using a prenuptial agreement
  • A prenuptial agreement can be used to clarify financial rights, duties, and responsibilities
  • A prenuptial agreement can expedite a divorce proceeding if this happens in the future
  • It is possible to use a prenuptial agreement to specify protection from certain debts

Clearly, these situations can apply to a lot of families. Therefore, everyone should at least consider whether a prenuptial agreement is for them.

The Checklist: What To Include in a Prenuptial Agreement

It is critical to include all the necessary items in a prenuptial agreement. Some of the factors that couples have to specify include:

  • Community vs. Separate Property: In the event of a divorce, community property is going to be divided evenly. Separate property is going to go back to the owners. It is helpful to specify community property versus separate property in the prenuptial agreement. This includes not only material items but also bank accounts, investment accounts, and even debt.
  • Debt Protection: Speaking of debt, it is important to consider debt protection as well. If one spouse has a lot of debt prior to marriage, a prenuptial agreement can be used to protect the other spouse from that specific debt. That way, in the event of a divorce, all debt goes back to the original spouse.
  • Waiver of Alimony Rights: In some situations, it can be helpful to specify a waiver of alimony rights in a prenuptial agreement. This means that if a divorce takes place, the other spouse is not required to pay alimony.
  • Estate Plan Protections: Furthermore, a prenuptial agreement should also specify certain estate plan protections. It is important for families to think about estate planning. That way, they can reduce their tax burden when one of them passes on. It is helpful to work with a trained professional on the specifics regarding estate plan protections through a prenuptial agreement.
  • Financial Responsibilities: When people think about a prenuptial agreement, they usually believe this is something that should specify what happens during a divorce. Even though this is true, it can also specify each spouse's financial obligations during the marriage. This includes specifying joint bank accounts, contributions of spouses to savings accounts, and even how bills are divided.

These are just a few of the items that should be included in a prenuptial agreement. Conversely, there are several items that are not included in a typical prenuptial agreement.

What Is Not Included in a Prenuptial Agreement

There are several items that are not included in a prenuptial agreement as well. Some of the most common examples include:

  • Issues regarding child custody and child support are not specified in a prenuptial agreement
  • Anything that is added to a prenuptial agreement that is deemed illegal or unfair to not be included and is not enforceable
  • Finally, even though a lot of couples like to include lifestyle clauses (specific to infidelity), this is usually not something that is enforceable either

Anyone who has a question about prenuptial agreements should be sure to work with an experienced legal professional to get them sorted out.

Work With the Law Offices of Leonard R. Ross for Assistance with Prenuptial Agreements

If you are looking for assistance with prenuptial agreements in Florida, it is important to get this right the first time. That is where the Law Offices of Leonard R. Ross are here to help. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you with your prenuptial agreement, please contact us today. We would be honored to work with you.