What Can My Premarital/Prenuptial Agreement Include?

woman signing contractMost people do not like to discuss it.  But anyone going through a divorce, wishes that they had one.  Well, anyone with money wishes that they had one.  Which brings most people to the first question.  ”Do I need one?”  If you have assets, or own a business, its not a bad idea.  If there is a disparity in the incomes of the marrying parties, its also a good idea.  People that are shy about talking to their future spouse about money, are likely to have problems.  Wouldn’t you rather know how your spouse stands on the subject, before you get married?

How fair is it to support your spouse through medical school, and ten years later, when he is finally making a decent income, he files for divorce?  Or the man who created his own successful business marries a woman who runs away with his best man, and then seeks 1/2 of that business after only be married two years.  I could list a hundred different scenarios here where you would say, “That’s not fair!”  Maybe it is, and maybe it isn’t, but having a prenuptial agreement can take the sting out of some of these headaches.  A prenup that said a business acquired before the marriage, would only belong to that person, might be something you would want to protect.  If you are going to stay home to raise the kids, leaving behind a lucrative career, you might want to think about what happens to you in the event of a divorce.

People don’t like having the conversation.  It’s understandable.  But one cannot argue that the conversation isn’t practical.   Having the discussion, prior to a problem arising, at least keeps everyone on the same page.

The court will allow you to put nearly anything in a prenup.  There are certain legal procedures you would want to consider however.  There has to be full disclosure of each party’s assets.  You should both hire separate attorneys, and at our firm, we like to have the agreement signed with a court reporter in the room, along with a person who videotapes the signing.

Lastly, don’t secure a prenup a week before the wedding.  Everyone should have time to review the document, and not sign it under duress.  You want to make sure that everyone understands it, and has had time to review it with their attorney.

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