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LEGAL DICTIONARY

Prenup

A prenuptial agreement (or ‘prenup’ for short) is a legal contract written and signed by two future spouses. It may also be referred to as a:

  • Antenuptial agreement
  • Premarital agreement
  • Prenuptial contract

A prenup can be used to protect property and assets as well as set conditions on financial settlements in the event of a divorce or the death of one of the people in the couple. Having a prenup signed before marriage is an option that some individuals choose if their wealth greatly exceeds that of their partner or they hold significant debts.

It may also be necessary if one of the spouses has children from a previous marriage to ensure that a will or Power of Attorney may be followed correctly.

Of course, it is essential that a prenuptial agreement conforms with the law before it is signed. Read on below to learn more about what can be covered in a prenup and what can’t.

What is Included in a Prenup?

A prenup can be designed to cover a number of different areas. This ultimately depends on the couple in question and the assets that they hold.

Without a prenup the legal system will assume the following if you die or get divorced:

  • Your spouse has the right to half your assets
  • Marital debts have to be split between the couple
  • The spouses will each retain a share in the control of any businesses considered marital property

However, a prenup could be used to limit some of these automatic rights. Depending on the circumstances it may be designed to:

  • Pass real estate property to separate children from previous marriages
  • Specify financial rights if the marriage ends
  • Decide if a spouse can claim alimony or not
  • Protect individual spouses from the debts of the other
  • Limit business interests in any companies started by one of the spouses

What Can a Prenup Not Be Used for?

Legal obligations such as child support cannot be withheld using a prenup agreement.

Additionally, it is important to consider that alimony cannot be restricted in some states. Therefore, it is important to check your local statutes before creating your own agreement.

Adding illegal or unlawful clauses to any contract could invalidate the entire document. Thus, it is absolutely crucial to make sure your prenup conforms with the laws of your state to make sure it is enforceable.

Can I Get a Prenup After Marriage?

Yes, in some states it is possible to sign this kind of agreement after marriage. The legal systems of a few jurisdictions allow a ‘postnup’ to be put into action after a marriage license has been signed.

However, not many legal systems do allow this. Furthermore, postnuptial agreements are harder to enforce than those signed before marriage.

Is It Necessary to Have a Lawyer Prepare Your Prenup?

If you and your future spouse have discussed a prenup and agree it is the right choice for you, it is usually recommended to get an attorney to help prepare it. This is especially important if you plan to include legally contestable elements such as a waiver of alimony.

However, it is also possible to create a prenup contract from scratch if you choose to. If you opt for this route, it’s wise to get a legal expert to carefully review the document before signing.

A prenuptial agreement (or ‘prenup’ for short) is a legal contract written and signed by two future spouses. It may also be referred to as a:

  • Antenuptial agreement
  • Premarital agreement
  • Prenuptial contract

A prenup can be used to protect property and assets as well as set conditions on financial settlements in the event of a divorce or the death of one of the people in the couple. Having a prenup signed before marriage is an option that some individuals choose if their wealth greatly exceeds that of their partner or they hold significant debts.

It may also be necessary if one of the spouses has children from a previous marriage to ensure that a will or Power of Attorney may be followed correctly.

Of course, it is essential that a prenuptial agreement conforms with the law before it is signed. Read on below to learn more about what can be covered in a prenup and what can’t.

What is Included in a Prenup?

A prenup can be designed to cover a number of different areas. This ultimately depends on the couple in question and the assets that they hold.

Without a prenup the legal system will assume the following if you die or get divorced:

  • Your spouse has the right to half your assets
  • Marital debts have to be split between the couple
  • The spouses will each retain a share in the control of any businesses considered marital property

However, a prenup could be used to limit some of these automatic rights. Depending on the circumstances it may be designed to:

  • Pass real estate property to separate children from previous marriages
  • Specify financial rights if the marriage ends
  • Decide if a spouse can claim alimony or not
  • Protect individual spouses from the debts of the other
  • Limit business interests in any companies started by one of the spouses

What Can a Prenup Not Be Used for?

Legal obligations such as child support cannot be withheld using a prenup agreement.

Additionally, it is important to consider that alimony cannot be restricted in some states. Therefore, it is important to check your local statutes before creating your own agreement.

Adding illegal or unlawful clauses to any contract could invalidate the entire document. Thus, it is absolutely crucial to make sure your prenup conforms with the laws of your state to make sure it is enforceable.

Can I Get a Prenup After Marriage?

Yes, in some states it is possible to sign this kind of agreement after marriage. The legal systems of a few jurisdictions allow a ‘postnup’ to be put into action after a marriage license has been signed.

However, not many legal systems do allow this. Furthermore, postnuptial agreements are harder to enforce than those signed before marriage.

Is It Necessary to Have a Lawyer Prepare Your Prenup?

If you and your future spouse have discussed a prenup and agree it is the right choice for you, it is usually recommended to get an attorney to help prepare it. This is especially important if you plan to include legally contestable elements such as a waiver of alimony.

However, it is also possible to create a prenup contract from scratch if you choose to. If you opt for this route, it’s wise to get a legal expert to carefully review the document before signing.