What Are the Issues That Can Be Addressed in a Prenuptial Agreement?

Published On: May 26, 2022Categories: Family Law

Rockland County Prenup LawyerFew people expect to get a divorce when they are getting married and planning for a future with their partner. Considering a possible divorce in the midst of these plans can not only seem unproductive, but it may be downright offensive to a couple and their family members. However, the fact remains that a significant percentage of marriages do not last, so making plans for this possibility can often be a good idea. A prenuptial agreement that details how certain matters will be handled in the case of divorce may even strengthen a couple’s bond by giving them a reason to fight to keep their relationship strong.

Terms That Can Be Included in a Prenup

A prenuptial agreement, which is commonly known as a “prenup,” is a legal agreement between a couple who plans to get married. A prenup is treated the same as a contract, and the parties will be bound to its terms in specific circumstances. Typically, a prenup will detail how certain issues will be handled if the couple’s marriage ends, including if they get a divorce, if they choose to legally separate, or if one spouse dies.

A prenup can generally include decisions related to:

  • The ownership and distribution of property – Marital property, which includes any assets or debts a couple acquires while they are legally married, will be subject to equitable distribution during a divorce. Separate property, which includes items owned by the parties before they were married, as well as any assets or debts acquired after a legal separation, will not be subject to equitable distribution, and they will continue to be owned by their original owner. A prenuptial agreement can specify that certain assets or debts will be considered marital property or separate property. It can also make decisions about how marital assets and debts will be divided between the spouses upon the dissolution of their marriage.

  • Provisions related to spousal maintenance – Depending on a couple’s situation, one spouse may or may not be entitled to receive ongoing financial support (sometimes known as alimony) from the other in the event of divorce. To prevent conflict about this issue, a prenup may decide whether spousal support will or will not be paid. If a couple decides that one party will receive support, their prenup can specify the amount that will be paid and the amount of time that these payments will be made.

  • Testamentary provisions – While a person’s will generally determines how their assets will be distributed to their heirs after their death, a prenuptial agreement may also be used to make decisions about the assets that one party will receive if the other party dies, as well as whether certain assets may be distributed to others, such as children from a previous marriage.

A prenuptial agreement generally cannot make decisions about child custody or child support. State statutes that determine how these issues will be handled in a divorce will be followed, and decisions will be made based on what is in children’s best interests. While a couple may want to address these issues ahead of time, any terms of a prenup that would go against children’s best interests may be disregarded, and they could potentially cause an entire agreement to be invalidated. In general, a prenuptial agreement should be limited to addressing issues related to a couple’s property and finances while leaving child-related matters to be decided at the time of a divorce.

Contact Our Rockland County Prenuptial Agreement Lawyer

At Law Offices of Robert S. Lewis, P.C., we can help you understand the benefits of a prenuptial agreement, and we will work with you to draft and negotiate an agreement that will meet your needs. We can also help determine the role that a prenup may play during the divorce process. Contact our Hudson Valley prenup attorney at 845-358-7100 to discuss marital agreements or other family law issues in a free consultation.