You don’t need millions of dollars in property to make a prenuptial agreement a smart protection when you decide to get engaged. Prenuptial agreements are not just about preserving someone’s wealth. In fact, agreements that are clearly biased in favor of one spouse may end up invalidated by family courts because they are unethical.
Contracts need to offer some kind of valuable consideration to both parties for them to be valid. Both you and your spouse should think about your personal concerns about both marriage and the possibility of divorce. Each of you will have the right to integrate certain terms that will protect you during the marriage and if you ever decide to divorce.
What kinds of terms do people frequently include in prenuptial agreements?
1. Protections for personal property
Engaged couples sometimes use prenuptial agreements as a way to protect their individual assets from commingling. People can protect inherited assets or specific property, like their retirement savings, as separate and therefore not subject to division. Other times, couples take a different route and simply include rules intended to guide the property division process.
2. Agreements related to child custody matters
Parenting choices can be a source of conflict both during a marriage and at the end of the relationship. The more thoroughly you discuss how you intend to parent and your expectations for one another related to your shared children, the less you will have to negotiate when you decide to divorce. From the breakdown of parenting time to rules about religion and technology, there are many important parenting terms that you can integrate into your prenuptial agreement.
3. Spousal support considerations
It is important that people know that the common request to waive child support rights in a prenuptial agreement could invalidate the document. Child support is what a parent owes to the children they have, and therefore the other parent does not have the authority to decline those payments in most cases.
However, you can set certain terms for spousal support. For example, you could put rules in place to ensure that the spouse who makes career sacrifices to raise the children will receive proper support if the marriage ends and they have to reenter the workforce unexpectedly.
When you understand the terms that people frequently include in prenuptial agreements, you can see how they reduce the conflict that occurs during a divorce and also how they may lead to a happier and more successful marriage. Talking about a prenuptial agreement with your fiance could help the two of you start your marriage out the right way.