It’s become increasingly common for couples to sign prenuptial agreements before they marry, but not all couples do. The topic has been very much in the public eye of late, as the tabloids are making a big deal out of the fact that Britain’s Prince Harry has decided against requiring any kind of contractual protection of his considerable assets.
While the prince’s confidence in the strength of his marriage (and the significant holdings of his bride-to-be) are admirable, any professional who works in family law will tell you that there’s nothing wrong with having a prenuptial agreement in place – and that it’s a good idea for a lot of reasons. A prenuptial agreement is meant to cover the interests of both parties to a marriage, and to do so at the optimal time: when both are feeling most romantic, confident and positive about one another. It is far easier to agree to fair terms in a prenup when you still love each other rather than when you’ve fallen out of love – or worse.
If you’re thinking about creating a prenuptial agreement, or at least bringing up the idea with your fiancé, then it’s smart to understand what kind of information should be included, as well as what happens if you don’t have one in place. A prenuptial agreement generally includes:
• Information about each spouse’s assets, as well as their debts.
• A listing of specific items that are particularly meaningful to each spouse and that they would want to maintain for themselves should the marriage dissolve.
• Wording that permits the couple to maintain their finances separately, which makes things easier in the event of a divorce.
• Terms for how much money will be set aside for savings, or who will be responsible for various expenses within the marriage.
• Specifics on how taxes will be filed.
• Agreements regarding alimony or spousal support
• Terms regarding educational expenses, particularly if one spouse is paying for the others schooling or supporting the family while the other is in school.
When couples decide to end their marriage without having a prenuptial agreement in place, the state’s laws are supposed to be applied in determining equitable distribution and support, but in a contested divorce it can take a long time and a great deal of aggravation and arguing to get to a resolution, or a day in court. If you would like to discuss the creation of a prenuptial agreement, contact one of our family law attorneys today.