What should I include in a prenuptial agreement?

Each state has its own provisions for the definition of personal property and jointly owned or community property. A prenuptial agreement allows you to define and protect specific property in the event of a divorce. Without a prenup, a court could decide how to divide your assets instead. The following items can be included in a prenuptial agreement:

  • Protection from your spouse’s debts
  • Provisions for children from previous marriages or relationships
  • Ownership of specific family heirlooms, businesses, property, or inheritances
  • Estate plan protection (you will also need a will designating your wishes)
  • An outline for dividing property if there is a divorce
  • Instructions for determining alimony after divorce (some states allow this, some do not)
  • Your marriage responsibilities

While state laws vary, most states do not allow the following items or issues to be included in a prenuptial agreement:

  • Non-financial relationship issues, including agreements about religion and child rearing
  • Illegal actions or provisions that would be against the law
  • Child support or custody agreements
  • Eliminating one partner’s right to alimony
  • Financial incentives that encourage divorce
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