What Assets A Prenuptial Agreement Can And Cannot Protect

by Leon on February 11, 2013

prenuptial agreementPrenuptial agreements are becoming more and more popular with couples everywhere. In most cases, couples draft and sign prenuptial agreements in order to protect their assets in the event of a divorce in the future. Some still view the idea of a prenuptial agreement as overly materialistic and contrary to the ideas of love and marriage. Others would call those people naive. Whatever your views on this kind of marital contract, if you are considering a prenuptial agreement it is important to know what it can and cannot protect in the event of a divorce from your spouse.

Rights and obligations with regards to property can be outlined in a prenuptial agreement. For example, if either spouse owned one or more homes before marriage, the obligations for maintaining those properties can be restricted to the owner in order to avoid financial burden on the other spouse. Likewise, the prenuptial agreement can protect the rights of ownership to those properties. The option for selling or leasing any properties owned before marriage can be protected and left as the sole right of the original owner. This is an important consideration for property owners and non-owners alike.

Options for spousal support may or may not be protected under a prenuptial agreement. Both parties may decide on agreements for spousal support while drafting a prenuptial agreement, but it can’t be said with any certainty that those agreements will be upheld in court. If a divorce results in one spouse going on welfare, for example, the court may require financial support from the other spouse sufficient to dissolve the welfare dependency. Whether or not agreements such as this can protect your assets under a prenuptial agreement will depend on state law.

prenuptial agreement can, in some ways, protect the sanctity of marriage as an asset itself. A provision in the agreement could state, for example, that if one spouse admits to infidelity, that a cash payment must be made to a particular account held by the other spouse. Faithfulness is one of the vows taken during marriage, and a prenuptial agreement can be used to protect those vows by outlining consequences for adultery.

Child support is one more matter that can’t be decided by a prenuptial agreement. Provisions may outline how the couple will raise their children after separation, but any matters of child support will be handled by the court and decided by state laws and guidelines. The prenuptial agreement can, however, state where legal proceedings will be held and under which jurisdiction decisions will be made. Spouses who are familiar with state laws and legal proceedings may make provisions such as this to protect their assets.

In the end, prenuptial agreements are not romantic, but they can be beneficial. There are many nuances of prenuptial agreements that cannot be learned in one day from a single website, so be sure to research this kind of legal agreement as much as possible. You may not want to consider the possibility of your marriage ending one day, but in light of high divorce rates it is always good to know how you can protect your assets in the future.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Cornelia N. Bonner February 13, 2013 at 6:02 am

two people marry to protect each one’s assets in case the marriage should end in divorce. Pre-Nups outlines how pre-existing and future earnings and present and future property will be divided up if there is a split up. These agreements are usually created when one party has considerably more wealth than the other party and wants to preserve it if the marriage ends in divorce. Without a Pre-Nup, most divorce laws will allow the assets to be drawn down the middle, granting half of all assets to each spouse [See §7:01]. Instead of allowing a court to decide what is fair, the couple decides.

Trent Wallace December 10, 2013 at 1:54 pm

Prenups are tricky and that’s why it’s best to put them in the hands of a capable family law attorney that will help you every step of the way. They are experienced in divorce and understand why prenups are important. They have all the necessary paperwork and can guide you to a valid contract.

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