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What Can I Include in My Prenuptial Agreement?

It is not uncommon for an engaged couple to have a prenuptial agreement drafted by a divorce lawyer before they marry. This is a document that outlines the financial aspects of their marriage and how their assets will be divided in the event of their divorce or one partner’s death. Prenuptial agreements are fairly common with individuals entering their second or subsequent marriages because generally by that point in an individual’s life he or she has a few assets and might have children from previous relationships that he or she wants to ensure can inherit a part of his or her estate.

A prenuptial agreement has to be written very carefully to ensure it holds up in court if it ever has to be followed. Only certain items can be addressed in a prenuptial agreement and for them to be valid, both parties must have fully consented to the agreement and disclosed all of their assets before signing it. Below are the items that may be included in a prenuptial agreement:

Real Estate, Heirlooms, and Other Family Property

Often, prenuptial agreements are used to keep property within an individual’s family. For example, a piece of land or an heirloom that has been in the property for generations might receive special protection in a prenuptial agreement.

Provisions for your Children

You can state which assets your children will receive from your estate and how much they will receive after your death in your prenuptial agreement.

Debt Protection

In your prenuptial agreement, you can determine which partner “owns” certain debts accrued during your marriage. For example, if your spouse decides to go to college during your marriage, you can state in the agreement that he or she is solely responsible for his or her student loan debt, rather than potentially both shouldering it after a divorce.

How Your Finances will be Handled During Your Marriage

You can determine whether you will maintain separate or joint bank accounts, how you will handle disagreements about money, how you will save and invest in the future, and how you will handle household expenses.

How Your Assets will be Divided in a Divorce

For example, you may state in your agreement that one partner will retain your home and buy out the other’s interest in the home. You might also state that all bank accounts will be split 50/50 or determine another formula.

Work with a Family and Divorce Lawyer

If you are in a relationship and you are considering marrying your partner, speak with him or her about working with a marital lawyer to draft a prenuptial agreement. Having a prenuptial agreement does not mean you do not have faith in your marriage. It is simply a guideline that will make it easier for your assets to be divided upon your death or in the event of a divorce. To start working on your prenuptial agreement with an experienced La Crosse lawyer, contact our team at Moen Sheehan Meyer, Ltd.

Published October 4, 2016
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