Wedding bells will soon be ringing, but before they do, one other important thing you should be sure to include on your long list of pre-wedding day preparations is to finalize your prenuptial agreement.
A prenuptial agreement is a written contract created by two people prior to their marriage or civil union (a postnuptial agreement is a written agreement executed after a couple gets married). The document spells out the guidelines and rules for how assets and debts should be divided in the event of divorce.
While it can feel awkward to talk about the possibility of divorce before you even get married, instead consider it a way of protecting your future self – your individual assets and family heirlooms – as well as any children you may have from a previous marriage. Moreover, prenuptial agreements can also be used to determine how any new assets acquired during the marriage should be handled if the relationship were to end.
What to Include in a Prenuptial Agreement
Valid prenuptial agreements require both parties to fully disclose their finances and identify all of their assets and debts. As you think about what to include in your prenuptial agreement, consider these areas:
- Business ownership – If one or both spouses own a business prior to the marriage, or if you plan to jointly invest in a business after marriage, you may consider including stipulations in your prenup around how much of the business and revenue each spouse is entitled. You should also distinguish which, if any, of the business assets should be considered separate personal assets, rather than shared marital assets.
- Distinctions of your assets and debts – A prenup enables you to maintain separate control over personal assets that you obtained prior to marriage. A prenup can also protect you from taking on the responsibility of your spouse’s debt if the marriage ends.
- Alimony or spousal support – If one partner makes significantly more money than the other, a prenuptial agreement could be used to both limit the payable alimony and/or ensure the less-wealthy individual receives fair compensation in a divorce.
- Dependent children – If you have children from a previous relationship or with your current partner, your prenup allows you to determine the financial inheritances your children should receive if you divorce; however, things like custody, visitation or child support cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement.
- Estate planning – Prenups can also be used as estate-planning tools to ensure that your financial wishes are fulfilled in the event of your death. This should be in addition to wills, living trusts, and other estate documents.
- Spousal responsibilities – Some couples choose to include descriptions of each spouse’s responsibilities in their prenuptial agreement. This includes things such as describing who will take care of household expenses, how joint bank accounts will be managed, who will contribute what to future savings, and more.
Prenuptial agreements should factor in your and your spouse’s personal and financial situations. A comprehensive contract can give you financial peace of mind. It may even help prevent potential disputes down the road as many difficult conversations and decisions will have already been made.
If you need help preparing your prenuptial agreement or have questions about what to include, get in touch with our experienced team of Florida family law lawyers at the Vasquez de Lara Law Group.