Historically, prenups have received something of a bad rap. However, more millennials are signing prenups than any previous generation, and for good reason.
The truth is, prenups have a multitude of benefits for soon-to-be-married couples. Knowing what to include in your prenup can help you establish a more equitable marriage.
Utilizing Your Prenup to Achieve an Equitable Marriage
Your prenup should cover a variety of topics, including:
- A complete list of separate and marital assets, and provisions for how future assets will be identified. Let's say you own a business, and your spouse contributes an idea that increases the business' value. Typically, that would make the business marital property, meaning you would need to split it (or one spouse would have to buy out the other) in the event of a divorce. In your prenup, you can specify that the business remains a separate asset, even if your spouse contributes an idea to it. Deciding how to identify assets ahead of time can be a great way to make marriage less stressful.
- Clauses to protect one another from bad investments or liabilities. You might want to include a clause that protects both parties from the effects of each other's debts or bad investments. Otherwise, the court may decide to split debts between parties during the property division process if a divorce occurs.
- Provisions for children. You can't include items that affect the parent-child relationship, such as child custody, parenting time, etc., in the prenup. However, you can dictate how inheritance should be handled for your children. If you have children from a prior marriage or adoption, you may want to consider provisions to protect your heirs.
- Estate plan protections. You can use your prenup to specify your spouse's role in your estate plan if you get divorced, become incapacitated, or pass away. Doing so can help you protect your estate and related documents such as your will or trusts.
- How spouses behave during the marriage. It's not a well-known feature, but prenups can actually lay out marital responsibilities for each spouse. For example, if one spouse wants to be a stay-at-home parent and the other agrees that's an acceptable arrangement, the prenup can solidify that arrangement. This can prevent the working spouse from claiming they were taken advantage of during a divorce.
- A sunset clause. If you wish, you can make provisions specifying an expiration date for your prenup after a certain number of years. Obviously, sunset clauses come with their own implications, and you should consult your attorney to decide whether a sunset clause is right for your prenup and marriage. However, they can be a great way to make marriage less stressful in the golden years.
Your prenup can help you make your marriage more equitable, and lead to a happier (and more peaceful) union.
To receive help from one of our experienced prenup attorneys, contact us online or via phone at (908) 274-3028.