What Are The Basic Elements of a Prenuptial Agreement?
One of the biggest mistakes people can make is assuming that they only need a prenuptial agreement if they are rich. In fact, there are a number of circumstances that warrant ensuring that you have a prenup in place, including but not limited to having children from previous relationship(s), personally-owned businesses, a significant amount of assets or debt, a significant age gap, and various other reasons.
Regardless of your reasons, there are a number of guidelines that should be followed in order to ensure that the agreement is successful, as we discuss below:
Keep It Fair, Simple, & Truthful
First and foremost, both partners must be completely truthful and disclose everything to each other. Each individual also needs to be represented by their own attorney in order ensure that the agreement is fair. Finally, although they can be crafted to fit your particular circumstances, prenups should also be kept as simple as possible. For example, it’s best not to use a prenup to discuss what faith you want to raise your children in, where you plan to spend holidays, etc., and instead stick to basic financial and legal issues that could come up.
Once you get started, these steps, at a minimum, should be followed:
- Get a good sense of your full financial picture, including inheritance and assets from your family members, and any student loans or other debts you might have. Each individual could also get a credit report on the other;
- Frankly discuss the issue of alimony (aka “maintenance”);
- Discuss whether each individual’s professional credentials are separate property subject to division, particularly if one person is still in the process of earning that credential and the other person plans to financially support them through it;
- Note that child support cannot be waived under the law, so it does not make sense to spend a significant amount of money or time addressing it in a prenup;
- Discuss bank accounts. Do you plan to keep separate accounts? Or just one joint account? This is where having an attorney is also very helpful, as they can advise you how to ensure that each person, going in, is financially protected regarding separate and marital property and assets;
- Talk about those sometimes questionable assets: retirement accounts, separate property, gifts from third parties, etc., as well as any prior liabilities incurred;
- Discuss any estate planning moves that might be wise, such as setting up a trust; especially if you have children from a prior relationship; and
- Make sure that you sign the agreement at least 30 days before the wedding so that there are no potential claims that the agreement should be invalidated due to duress.
Contact Our Florida Prenuptial Agreement Attorneys
When done correctly, a prenuptial agreement can be the safety net for a relationship that simply ensures that everyone is on the same page. Contact our divorce attorneys at the Arwani Law Firm, PLLC today to find out about our services assisting couples with these agreements.