Translating Legalese: Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements aren’t just for the rich & famous. Like many legal documents, a prenuptial agreement (sometimes also called “Antenuptial Agreements” or “Premarital Agreements”) can save you time, money, and energy in the long run.

What are the benefits of getting a prenup?

The benefits of a prenup are that it allows individuals who are considering marriage to establish their rights, prior to getting married, regarding the division of assets and income if the marriage where to be dissolved and/or one of the partners dies. The agreements should identify what property is and will be considered property of the marriage (marital property) and what property will be deemed separate property (non-marital property). The distinction as to whether property is marital or non-marital has a large impact on property divisions in a divorce and at the time of death for a married person. Prenuptial agreements are particularly beneficial when parties to a marriage have children from prior relationships or interest in closely held businesses.

What are the drawbacks of getting a prenup?

Drawbacks of prenups arise if one party feels taken advantage of, insulted, or uncared for based on the other party requesting a prenup-which can cause strife and distrust within the relationship. Further, a party may think, “this will never matter because we love each other” and not take the agreement seriously when it is drafted. This type of thinking can lead to significant financial concerns if the agreement is enforced.

Why would someone want to get a prenup?

People seek prenups for a variety of reasons. These include selfish desire to try and keep all future income away from a spouse (like you see in TV), but reasonable parties may also get a prenup to provide some level of clarity and comfort in the event the marriage would end prior to death of one party. These agreements can provide assurances to business partners about what will or could happen to a partner’s business interest in the event a business partner’s marriage were to end in divorce. Also, an agreement like this can provide some assurances about how a spouse will have financial protections without the cost of expensive divorce litigation.

What are some reasons that people may not want to get a prenup?

People avoid prenuptial agreements because they feel insulted or worried that they are going to be taken advantage of in such agreements. Also, some people try to hide assets prior to or during marriage-this hiding would cause a prenup to be declared void. Finally, others sincerely believe that such an agreement is in opposition of their closely held beliefs regarding marriage.

Do you recommend couples to get a prenup?

Prenuptial agreements can be particularly beneficial for people entering a marriage where each partner already have some wealth or assets, one party is a partner with a business ownership interest, or there are children from multiple relationships. In these circumstances prenups can help coordinate and assure equitable distribution of assets not just in case of a possible divorce, but also upon one marital partner’s death, saving a lot of expenses, time, and energy among extended and blended family members.

Are there considerations that should be made in addition to getting a prenup before getting married?

You need to be fully transparent of your financial situation prior. If you aren’t, the court may deem the agreement null and void.



Important terms you should know:

Financial Disclosures: One of the most important provisions of a prenup is declaring financial assets and liabilities. This means bank accounts, investments, real estate, debts, and other financial obligations.

Division of Property: How the assets are divided in the event of divorce. Comprises of anything from bank accounts and investments to property and personal belongings. In some circumstances, certain assets may stay separate property and not be subject to division in a divorce.

Debt Obligations: Prenups can address debt obligations, including debt incurred during the marriage. Credit card debt, mortgage payments, and other financial obligations can be included. Without this, the couple may have to rely on state laws to determine who is responsible for paying off the debt.

Spousal Support (Alimony): This provision can specify how much support will be paid and for how long. It can also include any conditions or circumstances under which spousal support may be modified or terminated.

Inheritance Rights: Prenups can also address inheritance rights, including how the couple’s assets will be distributed upon one spouse’s death. This can specify which assets will be inherited by whom, and include any conditions or restrictions on inheritance.

Business Interests: For couples who own businesses or have significant business interests, a prenup can be used to protect those assets in the event of a divorce. It can include provisions for the division of business assets and restrictions on the sale or transfer of those assets.

Importance of Common Prenup Terms

Legal Enforceability: Incorporating common terms in a prenup is an effective way to ensure the agreement is legally enforceable and won’t leave the decision in the hands of the courts.

Protection of Assets: Including the common terms ensures both parties understand their financial obligations and agree to the prenup terms. This protection is crucial for couples with significant assets, inheritance, or business ownership.

Clarity and Certainty: Adding these terms provide clarity and certainty. The provisions define specific terms and conditions, which help to prevent misinterpretations and conflicts. This clarity and certainty are specifically essential in the case of a divorce, where emotions may be flying high, and conflicts may be more likely.

Common Prenup Agreement Clauses

Property Division: Specifies how the couple’s property will be divided in the event of a divorce or separation. It may include details about the distribution of the real estate, bank accounts, investments, and other asset

Spousal Support: This clause outlines the amount and duration of any spousal support paid by one party to the other in case of a divorce or separation.

Debts: Determines how any debts incurred during the marriage will be divided between the spouses in the event of a divorce or separation

Inheritance Rights: Specifies whether either spouse will be entitled to inherit the other’s assets in the event of death or divorce

Business Interests: If one or both spouses own a business, this clause may specify how the business will be divided in the event of a divorce or separation

Custody and Support of Children: If the couple has children, this clause may specify how custody and child support will be handled during a divorce or separation

Infidelity Clause: May include penalties or financial consequences if spouses engage in extramarital affairs.


If you have more questions about whether a prenuptial agreement would be right for you, reach out to us today to be connected with an attorney.