Deciding whether to sign a prenuptial agreement can be one of the most difficult decisions engaged people face. It feels like a stressor during what is supposed to be a romantic time. Creating the agreement, however, doesn't have to be hard, and it can be the first of many instances during which a couple must work together to agree on how they want their marriage to work.
Can a Prenuptial Agreement Help You?
A premarital agreement can address more than just the financial aspects of marriage. They are not just for celebrities and the super wealthy. Prenups can cover mundane details like decision-making and responsibility sharing to which the parties agree in advance. Simply put, almost anyone contemplating marriage can benefit from a prenuptial arrangement — provided that it is properly written. If not, the agreement will be invalid.
It is best to have a skilled family law attorney draft and/or review your prenuptial agreement to make sure it is enforceable in court.
What the Agreement Might Look Like
Important Note: The following form is intended for illustrative purposes only. You and your family law attorney can use this sample as a guide in discussing the issues raised below, determining your wishes, and drafting a prenuptial agreement that best protects your interests.
Your situation is unique and the below provisions may or may not be appropriate for your case. A family law attorney who understands your goals, situation, and the state laws in effect where you live can provide an appropriate and enforceable prenuptial agreement.
________________________________________, hereinafter referred to as Prospective Spouse 1, and _______________________________________, hereinafter referred to as Prospective Spouse 2, hereby agree on this _____ day of ________________, in the year ______, as follows:
- Prospective Spouse 1 and Prospective Spouse 2 contemplate marriage in the near future and wish to establish their respective rights and responsibilities regarding each other's income and property and the income and property that may be acquired, either separately or together, during the marriage.
- Prospective Spouse 1 and Prospective Spouse 2 have made a full and complete disclosure to each other of all of their financial assets and liabilities, as more fully set forth in the accompanying Financial Statements, attached hereto as Exhibits A and B.
- Except as otherwise provided below, Prospective Spouse 1 and Prospective Spouse 2 waive the following rights:
- To share in each other's estates upon their death.
- To spousal maintenance, both temporary and permanent.
- To share in the increase in value during the marriage of the separate property of the parties.
- To share in the pension, profit sharing, or other retirement accounts of the other.
- To the division of the separate property of the parties, whether currently held or hereafter acquired.
- To any claims based on the period of cohabitation of the parties.
- [SET FORTH RELEVANT EXCEPTIONS HERE.]
- [ADDITIONAL PROVISIONS HERE. These can range from prescribing that the children will be raised in a particular religion to allocating household chores between the parties.]
- Both Prospective Spouse 1 and Prospective Spouse 2 are represented by separate and independent legal counsel of their own choosing.
- Both Prospective Spouse 1 and Prospective Spouse 2 have separate income and assets to independently provide for their own respective financial needs.
- This agreement constitutes the entire agreement of the parties and may be modified only in a writing executed by both Prospective Spouse 1 and Prospective Spouse 2.
- In the event it is determined that a provision of this agreement is invalid because it is contrary to applicable law, that provision is deemed separable from the rest of the agreement, such that the remainder of the agreement remains valid and enforceable.
- This agreement is made in accordance with the laws of the state of _________________, and any dispute regarding its enforcement will be resolved by reference to the laws of that state.
- This agreement will take effect immediately upon the solemnization of the parties' marriage.
I HAVE READ THE ABOVE AGREEMENT, I HAVE TAKEN TIME TO CONSIDER ITS IMPLICATIONS, I FULLY UNDERSTAND ITS CONTENTS, I AGREE TO ITS TERMS, AND I VOLUNTARILY SUBMIT TO ITS EXECUTION.
|_______________________________Prospective Spouse 1
_______________________________Prospective Spouse 2
Have an Attorney Help You With Your Premarital Agreement
Prenuptial agreements are not one-size-fits-all. You should be sure to discuss and understand each provision and agree to what it means before signing any agreement. Depend on the advice from your own trusted family law attorney to ensure such understanding.
Marriage and divorce laws are changing constantly. Your lawyer can help clarify the local laws and changes that are relevant to your best interests. Find the right family law attorney near you for some peace of mind during what is, at the core, a joyful time in your life and the life of your partner.