Prenuptial Agreements

A prenuptial agreement (also called an antenuptial or premarital agreement) is a written contract between two people who are planning to marry. Usually, couples sign prenuptial agreements to address certain issues that might come up if they get divorced or when one of them dies, such as:

  • who will be responsible for debts taken on during the marriage, and
  • each spouse’s rights and obligations regarding property they own, and what will happen to their property in the event of death, divorce, or separation.

Although many people think that prenuptial agreements are only for the very rich, many other couples might have a good reason to sign a premarital agreement. For example:

  • seniors may be concerned about passing on property to children from previous marriages when they die
  • some couples may want protection from being responsible for each other's debts, especially school loans and medical debt, and
  • many couples can benefit from having a complete accounting of their assets and debts before they get married

State laws on prenuptial agreements vary, so it's important to know the requirements for a valid agreement in your state. For instance, you might want to agree neither of you will receive alimony if you get divorced, but some states won't allow you to do that in a prenup.

Even if you draft your own prenup, it's important that you understand all of the potential consequences as well as the legality of your agreement. So both you and your fiance should have your own separate lawyers review the agreement before you sign. (In fact, some states require that.)

State Prenuptial Agreements:

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