What Can And Can't A Prenuptial Agreement Protect?

Posted on: 2 August 2016

Prenuptial agreements are legal agreements designed to protect things like debts, property, assets and businesses in the event of a divorce. Basically, a prenuptial agreement defines who gets what in the event of a divorce. In 1983, the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act, or APAA, was enacted by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws. This act was designed to govern prenuptial agreements. There are things that a prenuptial agreement can and cannot protect.

It Can Protect Debts

Either you or your partner may be entering the marriage with some type of debt, either personal or business. There may also be some sort of anticipation that one of you will incur some type of type during the marriage. The last thing either of you probably wants is to be burdened with this sort of debt. Your prenuptial agreement can include terms stipulating that these debts will considered separate assets in the event of a divorce.

It Can Protect Property

Property is considered to be anything that is owned and usually falls into one of two categories: real or personal. Real property includes land or real estate and personal property includes things like antiques, bank accounts, real estate, stocks, bonds, and vehicles.

It Cannot Protect Child Custody, Support, or Visitation

Anything dealing with child custody, child support or child visitation cannot be included in the agreement. Child custody and visitation require court approval and are usually decided on at the time of the divorce hearing. Child support is also decided at the time of the divorce hearing and is based on certain statutory guidelines.

It Can Protect Inheritances

Inheritances are not thought of as community property, even in states that have community property laws. If you know that you will be getting an inheritance, as the heir, you need to include this in the prenuptial agreement in order to ensure your ownership of the money stays intact.

It Cannot Protect Non-Financial Stipulations

For the most part, a prenuptial agreement is designed to cover issues that are financially related, so anything that is not financially related cannot be included. There are some individuals that think they can use a prenuptial agreement to establish certain ground rules like how to raise the children. Items that deal with personal or private domestic issues will not be upheld in court, should the agreement be challenged.

It is important to note that you should have your prenuptial agreement done in a reasonable amount of time before the wedding day arrives, usually two or three months. This allows both of you enough time to consider the terms of the agreement and negotiate those terms if needed. The whole wedding could get pushed back if you wait until the last minute to set up the prenuptial agreement only for your spouse to disagree with signing it. For more information, contact firms like Kleveland Law.