How does a prenuptial agreement work?

A prenuptial agreement is a type of contract which two people about to be wed enter into that establishes the rights of each spouse should they choose to divorce or if one spouse dies. Prenuptial agreements can benefit couples by allowing them to avoid litigation later on since there is already an agreement in place on how property will be divided should the marriage end. Without an agreement, the state will divide your property which can entail a lengthy court battle.

Prenuptial agreements are often pursued by those with children from a prior marriage who wish to protect their children’s interests, those who have been through a difficult divorce before want to ensure it does not happen again, and those individuals with considerable assets.

At the same time, prenuptial agreements can benefit anyone wanting to protect their property before entering into a marriage.

What does a prenuptial agreement govern?

Prenuptial agreements can cover most issues regarding property, assets, and debts which you or your future spouse own.

Prenuptial agreements can cover issues including:

  • How to pay premarital debts
  • Whether either spouse will receive alimony in case of a divorce
  • How things such as medical care, disability insurance, and long-term care will be handled
  • How the marital home and marital property will be divided
  • How premarital assets will or will not be combined or divided
  • Whether gifts, trusts, and/or inheritances will be considered marital or separate property
  • How death benefits and/or life insurance will be divided

Prenuptial agreements are limited for the most part to property arrangements, which does not include child custody and support. Matters involving children will depend on their best interests at the time of the divorce.

If you need legal counsel for drafting a prenuptial agreement to protect yourself down the road, speak with Pedano, O’Shea, McGavic & Hogenmiller for your free evaluation.