Most people don’t expect to get divorced when they get married. However, nearly 50% of marriages in the United States end in divorce or separation. That’s why many couples choose to sign a prenuptial agreement, known as a prenup. It is essentially a contract that both parties sign before the marriage that states how assets and debts should be divided if the marriage comes to an end. Prenups especially protect individuals who have a lot of assets or children from a previous marriage.
What You Should Absolutely Include in a Prenup
1) Assets and Debts
Your assets are usually at the top of the list of any prenup arrangement. For a prenup to be fair and valid, both parties must disclose their personal finances. However, money isn’t the only thing listed under assets. Other assets could include:
- A Company or business
- Personal items, especially family heirlooms
- Financial status
- Credit card debts
- Car loans
A prenup can protect a partner’s business and finances, but it can also protect the other person from being responsible for any debts incurred before the marriage.
2) Alimony rights
When most marriages end, the lower-earning spouse is entitled to payments from the higher-earning spouse. However, if both parties agree, alimony rights can be waived in the prenup, excluding the higher-earning spouse of the responsibility of paying alimony.
3) Dependant Children
Whether your child is from a previous relationship or with your spouse, a prenup determines the child’s rights to any property or financial inheritances that would result from a divorce.
Decisions regarding custody and child support can not be included in a prenup. Instead, including them in the document specifies how assets will be distributed to the child.
4) Your Estate Plan
Including an estate plan in the prenup helps keep any property or personal assets obtained before the marriage separate from the ones acquired during the marriage. In this scenario, the prenup also limits what the spouse will inherit should their partner die.
What Else Can You Include in a Prenup?
Depending on what is important to the individual, there is a wide variety of items that can be included in a prenup. These can include:
- Pet custody – While child custody can be included in a prenup, pets are often listed under the terms of the divorce.
- Outsourced work – Home help and financial advisors can be identified in a prenup, so there is no question in the event of a divorce for whom the employee will work.
- Genetic Material – Couples that experience fertility problems might include what will be done with any stored sperm or eggs.
- Ideas and intellectual property – If a party develops an idea that leads to an invention, literary or artistic work, symbols, names, or images used in commerce, they can be included in the prenup if appropriately worded.
- Sentimental items – Things like family photo albums, videos, and heirlooms can also be included in the prenuptial agreements.
Don’t Leave Your Prenup Up to Chance
While no one is planning on divorce before the marriage begins, working up a prenup regardless can save a lot of headaches and emotional involvement if the decision is ever made in the future to end the marriage.
Writing up a prenup can be a sensitive and time-consuming process. Don’t try to tackle it alone. Reach out to our experienced attorneys at Reddy & Feldhake to understand the requirements and laws surrounding prenuptial agreements in Oklahoma. We’re happy to conduct a free consultation with you to get started.