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Prenuptial Agreements: How To Bring One Up And What To Put In One

by Theresa Hoffman

If there's romance in the air and wedding bells in your future, there's one decidedly unromantic topic that might be on your mind: a prenuptial agreement. Should you consider one? How can you broach the topic with your intended without creating a rift in your relationship? 

Here's how to approach the issue with your future spouse and the most important things to discuss.

How do you bring up the subject of a prenup?

First, address the issue before you see an attorney. If you wait until you've already discussed things with an attorney and drawn up a tentative agreement, your future spouse is likely to feel blindsided. 

When you bring the issues up, approach it from a logical perspective. A prenuptial agreement can protect you both if your relationship falters. Stress the following points:

  • A prenuptial agreement crafted in a loving way will reflect your common goals for how you want things handled if there is a divorce
  • It virtually guarantees that there will never be a protracted or bitter divorce battle
  • It allows you, as a couple, to decide the rules for your ending your relationship instead of surrendering that power to the state

If you desire, you can even agree to a prenuptial agreement that becomes void after a certain number of years. Whatever you do, point out that a prenuptial agreement means that neither of you ever needs to feel financially trapped in the marriage.

What should a prenup include?

Before you and your fiance talk to attorneys, it's important to discuss what you want to include in a prenuptial agreement. Some of the issues you should talk through together are:

  • What assets have each of you acquired prior to marriage, and which ones should be kept separate and commingled?
  • What debts are each of you bringing into the marriage—do you agree each of you should be responsible for your own credit card debts, student loans, and other liabilities?
  • If you do divorce, who agrees to move out and will that person receive a support payment to help with relocation costs?
  • Is alimony a consideration or are you willing to waive it?
  • Who gets custody of the engagement ring if you split? 
  • Who gets custody of any pets you have?
  • Do you want the prenup to contain any confidentiality clauses? 
  • Are there any business ventures or interests that need to be addressed?

Keep in mind that some things can't really be decided in a prenuptial agreement. Child custody is determined based on what is in the best interests of the child, and child support, unlike spousal support, cannot be waived.

For more advice on how to craft a solid, enforceable prenuptial agreement, talk to a family law attorney in your area like those found at Catherine Real Family Law.