What are the Most Common Stipulations of Prenuptial Agreements?

Though many couples are uncomfortable with the idea of a prenuptial agreement, ask anybody who has been through a divorce and you’re likely to hear that they wish that they’d had one before they married. Though you may think this is all about the division of assets, there’s actually a lot more to it than that. Setting up a prenuptial agreement introduces the topic of money and how it will be managed, and that is something that is all too frequently ignored – and can lead to many arguments and conflicts.  A well-crafted prenuptial agreement doesn’t just navigate the challenges of who owns what prior to the marriage and how much each partner will get should the marriage dissolve: it also addresses financial obligations and responsibilities during the marriage.

Setting up a prenuptial agreement requires couples to open up with each other and communicate about their financial standing, any debts that they each may have, and where they want to be in the future. Couples should neither view them as a threat to their optimism about the marriage nor as something that they need to quickly put behind them, but instead as an opportunity to have an open discussion.

Though every prenuptial agreement is different and should be based on the specific needs of the couple involved, there are some common stipulations that you can expect your attorneys to put into the document. These include:

  • A definition of the separate property assets and liabilities of each member of the couple. This is important, as it is treated separately from what is acquired during the marriage.
  • The specific event that puts the prenuptial agreement into effect. A prenuptial agreement is generally triggered by a divorce filing or separation, through agreements that discuss financial behavior during the marriage can be triggered by the marriage itself.
  • A definition of marital property (which is the property earned or acquired during the marriage)
  • An agreement regarding spousal support or maintenance
  • Management of household bills and expenses
  • Management of tax filings
  • Management of joint bank accounts
  • Management of credit card spending and payments
  • Savings contributions
  • Settlement of potential disagreements
  • Clauses that state when the prenuptial agreement is no longer valid (sunset clause) or specific terms regarding how terms may change based upon the length of the marriage or how many children a couple has.

Setting up a prenuptial agreement does not need to be a harrowing experience. Contact our experienced attorneys for assistance in getting through the process with a minimum of discomfort and an agreement that protects both spouses’ interests.