Prenuptial Agreement Information
A Prenuptial Agreement is also known as a:
- Marriage Agreement
- Premarital Contract
- Antenuptial Agreement
A prenup is a legal document used by engaged couples before marriage. It sets out each individual's current assets and liabilities, and how property will be divided if the marriage ends.
Why Should I Get a Prenup?
A Prenuptial Agreement is not only reserved for couples with significant assets, but for any couple who is looking to protect their personal property. Both partners are able to list their individual assets and debts before marriage in order to keep their personal property and debts from becoming shared.
Essentially, it establishes whose property is whose and what types of property will be shared after marriage, so in the event of a marital breakdown, spouses do not have any claim to any assets that they want to keep separate from their spouse.
What is Typically Included in a Prenup?
- Information about both partners
- Separate property and separate debts
- Shared property and shared debts, and how these will be divided if the marriage ends
- If either party has dependent children from a previous or current relationship
- Spousal support
- Estate inheritance, if applicable
Separate Property vs. Shared Property
Property that you have previously bought under your name and using your own funds (other than your matrimonial home) is considered to be your separate property. A prenup helps you to document separate ownership over this property.
Generally, once you are married, any property that you purchase will be considered marital or shared property, unless you say otherwise in a Prenuptial Agreement. These shared assets are usually divided equally if the marriage ends.
Separate Debts and Shared Debts
Separate debts are the debts you acquired prior to the marriage or that are acknowledged to be solely your responsibility, such as a student loan. Shared debts are accumulated together as a couple, such as a mortgage on your family home or a joint credit card.
A prenup sets out how these debts are to be divided if the marriage ends.
Spousal Support in a Prenup
Spousal support, also known as alimony, is a form of financial support that one spouse provides to another after separation. Usually the amount and frequency of spousal support depends on various factors, such as the length of marriage, the standard of living of the spouses prior to separation, the health of both spouses, the age of the spouses, etc.
What Can Make Your Prenup Invalid
Some issues can make a prenup void or unenforceable, including:
- If the agreement was executed under coercion or duress
- Invalid clauses in the prenup
- Stipulations that are extremely unfair to one party (e.g. unconscionable)
- No independent legal advice
- Not everything was disclosed (such as all the assets and debts of both parties)
- Incomplete or false information
- Verbal agreements or clauses
- Executing the agreement after the wedding or too close before the wedding to be fully understood
Does a Prenup Cover Child Support or Custody?
A premarital agreement does not generally cover child support or custody. This issue is usually left open to be determined by the courts at the time of separation. The courts will always retain the authority to determine if the child support is enough for the child. If the Prenuptial Agreement was more generous than the law would otherwise require, then those provisions will likely be enforced by the courts.
Forms Related to a Prenup: