A prenuptial agreement, frequently referred to as a “prenup,” is a contract entered into prior to marriage. These agreements are entered into by engaged couples and they address the splitting of assets in the event of divorce. Many couples are unsure if they could benefit from a prenuptial agreement. The common perception is that prenuptials agreements are only needed when one partner is considerably wealthier than the other. While that is a case in which a prenuptial agreement can be useful, it is not the only case.
There are several situations in which couples can benefit from having a prenuptial agreement. If one partner has significant debt, a prenuptial agreement can protect the other partner from creditors. When one or both spouses own all or part of a business, a prenuptial agreement can help protect that interest. When one or both spouses have children from a previous relationship, a prenuptial agreement can simplify a divorce. In this case, prenuptial agreements can be used to protect the inheritance of children from past relationships.
Despite the many uses for prenuptial agreements, it is important to note several things prenuptial agreements cannot be used for. Prenuptial agreements do not have any effect on child custody. This is because child custody is determined by evaluating the fitness of both parents. A judge must have more to go on than a single document in order to determine parental fitness. Likewise, prenuptial agreements do not have any effect on child support. This is because child support is determined based on the income of both parents. A document written prior to the marriage is unlikely to accurately reflect both spouses’ financial situation years later.
If you would like more information on prenuptial agreements, please contact one of our attorneys. We are happy to advise you as to whether a prenuptial agreement could benefit you and your future spouse.