If you and your fiancé are considering having a prenuptial agreement before you are married, there are many things that you should include in the prenuptial agreement. First off, ensure that both spouses have their own lawyers to look at the prenuptial agreement – this is to protect both of you and ensure that the prenuptial agreement is fair and legitimate. If you use the same lawyer, there is a possibility that the prenuptial agreement will not be held up in court if you get divorced.
Here is a list of what you should include in your prenuptial agreement:
- Decide how the debts will be handled – both those incurred before the marriage and after the marriage.
- Disclose to your lawyer all of your liabilities, assets, sources of income as well as any future assets that you can consider, such as an inheritance or gift.
- Decide who will get the primary residence as well as any vacation homes in the event that one spouse dies or a divorce occurs.
- Ensure that you state what will happen to each of the specific properties that you own, either together or separate. This includes antiques, accident settlements, jewelry, real estate and stock options.
- Discuss the status of gifts or bequests that you get, either before or after the marriage. Under normal circumstances, these are separate properties, however some questions arise when a gift is given to the couple after the marriage. One primary example is a monetary gift for the down payment on a house that is given by one of the spouse’s parents.
- Child support and any provisions for child support or custody will not be binding later should you get divorced, however you can allow for alimony/spousal support in the prenuptial agreement and come up with a figure that is reasonable for both the payer and the receiving spouse.
- You should also set forth the beneficiaries of your retirement plans, pensions, IRAs, 401(k)s in the event of one of the spouses death or a divorce occurs.
- You should also provide for children’s health insurance and cost sharing for health care for your children.
- You should also include the state laws that apply to your prenuptial agreement and how a move to a different state will affect your prenuptial agreement.
- You should also provide for your pets in the prenuptial agreement – who gets custody and if there will need to be visitation rights.
- Ensure that the attorney’s who handled your prenuptial agreement are identified in your documentation. Ensure that each of the lawyers explains each of the provisions in your prenuptial agreement and that you understand what everything means. Never be afraid to raise a question about any of the provisions in your prenuptial agreement.
- There should also be a clause in your prenuptial agreement that the person who challenges the validity of the agreement will pay the other spouse’s lawyer fees, regardless of the outcome.