A prenuptial agreement is a tool to make your marriage more stable than it would have been if you haven’t discussed crucial issues before tying the knot. Couples can talk about everything from their hopes for a family to their long-term financial expectations when discussing a prenuptial agreement.
Provided that you don’t try to include anything that violates the law, there’s a lot of freedom for you and your future spouse to include the terms that matter the most to you. You can both protect your personal property or ask for concessions in the event of a divorce. However, there are certain terms that likely belong in any prenuptial agreement, including the three below.
Have a clear plan for existing and future debt
Does one of you already have major credit card debt or tens of thousands of dollars in student loans? If the debts exist prior to marriage, they are usually separate property. However, including their balances in your prenup and discussing that each person retains the responsibility to repay their own debts can be an important provision before you get married.
Otherwise, your spouse might expect your help in repaying their debts even if you divorce. You can also address what will happen with debts incurred by one spouse without the knowledge of the other or for personal gratification and not to support the family unit, possibly by making them the responsibility of the person who incurred them.
Discuss major assets you own or hope to own in the future
If you own a house that you inherited from your grandparents and want to live in with your spouse, designating it a separate property in the prenuptial agreement prevents your spouse from taking your inheritance if you divorce. Otherwise, their contributions to its maintenance and expenses might result in commingling, giving them a claim to your property.
You may also want to discuss your retirement account or a business. Anything that you currently own can be part of a prenuptial agreement, as can assets you hope to acquire in the future, like a home or a company.
Plan how you will share finances during and after marriage
A solid prenuptial agreement could include rules about financial contributions during the marriage and how to split property if you do get divorced.
Setting these terms now can set you up for a more harmonious marriage, with both parties in agreement about the obligations they have. If you do end up divorcing, settling how you want to split your property up ahead of time will make the end of your marriage smoother and more affordable than a litigated divorce.