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What can a prenuptial agreement do?

Sometimes prenuptial agreements are regarded as something for the wealthy or for those marrying for the second time or with children. While it is true prenuptial agreements can be beneficial for individuals and couples in those circumstances, prenuptial agreements can offer benefits for individuals in any circumstances. Couples considering one may wonder what prenuptial agreements do. Prenuptial agreements provide legal protections in circumstances of death and divorce.

Prenuptial agreements can address a variety of issues important to a couple entering marriage. It can address division of property should the couple divorce and also address what assets are considered marital property and will be divided and what assets are considered separate property and are not subject to division. In the absence of a prenuptial agreement, state laws will control property division concerns in the event the couple divorces.

Prenuptial agreements also address spousal support and alimony considerations. One significant benefit of a prenuptial agreement is that it can avoid uncertainty related to property division and minimize time, cost and acrimony for the couple during the divorce process that might otherwise be associated with divorce. Prenuptial agreements cannot address child support and child custody. In addition, there are important legal requirements associated with a valid prenuptial agreement and these requirements vary by state so it is necessary to be familiar with what they are.

Prenuptial agreements can be helpful in a variety of situations and are important for couples contemplating marriage to consider. It is also helpful for couples to be familiar with that prenuptial agreements can and cannot do and how one might be able to help them in their unique situation.

Source: Sheknows.com, "What a prenup does and does not do," Jennifer Brandt, May 30, 2013

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