Securing Your Future After Marriage: Guidelines for Setting Up a Prenup

Planning a wedding is stressful and time consuming. Decisions about the venue, caterer, guest list, cake, flowers, dress, reception music, rehearsal dinner, and the honeymoon can make both the bride and groom anxious to get the whole thing over with. However, this anxiety and never-ending to-do list shouldn’t prevent you from having the necessary conversations to properly set up a prenuptial agreement.

A prenup is a legal agreement that secures each party’s financial future in case of a future separation. Although you fully intend to be together “for as long as you both shall live,” it is in both your and your future spouse’s best interest to set one up just in case.

Prenup Planning and Guidelines

Once you make the decision to file a prenup, you and your partner need to have truthful discussions about your assets and future financial needs and goals. The American Bar Association (ABA) recommends that you delve into six important financial topics. In order to fully understand and make sure your needs are met, the ABA suggests that you compile your own thoughts first, then discuss the issues with your partner, and finally go over your combined decisions with a respectable lawyer. This way, your agreement is ensured to cover all the necessary requirements for the document. The six key topics of conversation are:

  • Premarital assets and debts. Premarital assets are any assets that you have already acquired before you marry. These assets can include property such as jewelry, cars, and houses as well as financial accounts like savings accounts, pensions, retirement funds, inheritances, and stock options. Premarital assets fall under the category of “separate” property, along with any personal gifts received either before or during the marriage. Generally speaking, separate property belongs to the spouse who acquired it.
  • Marital property. Marital property describes the assets and debts that you will accumulate as a couple once you're married.
  • Management of assets and income. Couples often have conflicting views on how to manage and divide their money. You may want to save a large portion of your combined income for retirement, while your partner wants to spend some of that income on luxuries now. Make sure you’re both on the same page before the wedding in order to avoid problems later. You can enter a tentative agreement into the prenup in order to clarify spending and savings. 
  • Credit and debt. Make sure you’re aware of your fiance’s credit rating and any outstanding debt before you become legally joined. If debt is substantial, you can discuss payment options and enter the agreement into your prenup if need be.
  • Working. Some partners decide to equally share financial responsibility (both partners work to bring in family income), while other couples decide to have only one “bread-winner,” especially after having children. Make sure you discuss how you and your fiance will be dealing with the subject of work so that finances will be equally and fairly established in the prenup.
  • Alimony. You don’t have to address spousal support in your agreement if you don’t want to, but it makes sense to talk about it. Establishing limitations and agreements early will prevent surprises and ill feelings later if a divorce is required.

Now What?

Once you have made lists of your assets and discussed future financial planning, the next step is to file your agreement. We will double and triple check the document to make sure everything is in order. Contact us today to set up an appointment. We’ll treat you like part of the family and make sure you’re both covered no matter what the future holds. Call today!

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