Prenuptial agreements are contracts created between two parties who want to get married, outlining what would happen to assets that enter the marriage if the marriage dissolves. While this may seem a bit crass when you are getting married, if you have many assets you are bringing to the marriage, it is worth considering. Once you begin mingling your assets, ownership can become vague. If you have property, bank accounts, and other assets you want to protect in the event of a divorce, it's time to sit down with an attorney and discuss what you can do about a prenup agreement.
What a Prenup Can Protect in the Event of a Divorce
When you create a prenup, it's important to understand what your prenup can actually protect. For example, if you come into the marriage with a vacation house, your prenup agreement can determine that you are responsible for taking care of the house financially. In the event you divorce, the house would continue to be your responsibility, and you would have the right to sell the house.
A prenup can also outline what would occur if one spouse cheated on another. For example, if it is the wife coming in to the marriage with a lot of money, the prenup could state that if she cheats on her husband, she agrees to pay one million dollars into a separate bank account for the husband. While the parameters of a prenup can get complicated, you can protect some of your assets from becoming combined marital property this way.
What a Prenup Can't Protect If You Get Divorced
Marital property is property that is bought or earned together while the two of you are married. If you maintain a separate bank account that your spouse never puts money into and never has control of, what you purchase with that money may be looked at as separate property. It becomes more complicated when funds become intertwined, as by having joint accounts you are both entitled to what is in the account.
You can't have a provision in your prenup agreement that determines child support, since you will have to follow state guidelines to calculate it. In addition, if your prenup makes your ex eligible for welfare benefits because they are so poor, the prenup agreement is unlikely to stand up in court to its full extent.
If you are getting married and worried about your assets, it's time to talk with an attorney such as Janet P. Welton, P.A. about a prenup agreement.
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