If sitting down with an attorney during your wedding plans are not on the list of things of to do, it should be. You will be doing your relationship and your financial situation a big favor by creating a prenuptial agreement that covers important goals and plans for the future. Read on to learn more about what goes into a good prenuptial agreement.
Making It Legal
Most of the laws that govern today are very old, and those that address family matters like marriage and divorce are no exception. Prenuptial agreements have been around, in some form or the other, for as long as people formed unions together. Long before divorce was recognized, this legal agreement protected women and children from some of the negative financial impacts of divorce.
Nowadays, prenuptial agreements are more about equity and are meant to protect the financial interests of both parties in a marriage. The Premarital and Marital Agreements Act is meant to address this issue in a more formal way, but most states treat premarital agreements on a case by case basis.
What to Include in Your Prenuptial Agreement
It's safe to stick to financial issues if you want your agreement to be enforceable, so consider including these important provisions:
Debt: The debt you enter your marriage already holding is your responsibility, and an agreement will place a "line in the sand" to fend off problems if you part ways with your spouse. Include a list of each party's debts and balances, including credit cards, auto loans, personal loans, title and payday loans, and mortgages. Don't forget about private loans (between friends and family) and loans from retirement or investment accounts.
Property: Just like the debt you bring into the marriage, property is meant to remain in each party's ownership, regardless of marriage or divorce. The main exception is if you end up mixing your property with your spouse's property, known as commingling. In the case of commingling, you will at least have a starting point for untangling the assets. The property category contains:
- real estate
- vehicles and boats
- art, jewelry, and collectibles
- bank, retirement, and investment accounts
Budgeting: Creating a budget is one of those things that some couples either put off too long or believe they don't really need. If you've been coping just fine with your bills and income without a budget up to now, you may be surprised at the money-related conflicts that arise after you combine incomes and debts. A listing of which party is responsible for paying what bills should be included in the prenuptial agreement, and doing so is an important task regardless of the legal aspects.
Savings plans: It's important to consider together what you want and need to set aside money for. No matter whether you have lots of disposable income or you cannot imagine how you can put any money aside, you need to ascertain where it should go if you have any.
Speak to a family law attorney about creating your own prenuptial agreement.