Forming a prenuptial agreement can provide peace of mind for a couple who is deciding to spend their life together. Indeed, while no one plans for divorce, knowing that key issues in a divorce–such as property division and alimony–have already been decided should the marriage fail can reduce stress and mitigate conflict. If you and your soon-to-be spouse are thinking about forming a prenuptial agreement, consider these four key things that you should definitely include:
1. Separate and Marital Property
It’s important that your prenuptial agreement outlines what will be considered separate and marital property at the time of divorce; otherwise, the state’s laws will determine what is separate and marital, and therefore subject to division. For example, you might want to label a family business and related proceeds as separate, as well as contributions to a retirement account.
2. Property Distribution
Once you have taken steps to outline separate and marital property, another key part of your prenuptial agreement is that of distributing property. Again, Massachusetts has its own laws for determining how property will be divided at the time of a divorce, but you can use a prenuptial agreement to bypass any set requirements. You can also use your prenuptial agreement to ensure that property is passed down to beneficiaries and children from a previous marriage, or kept within the family at the time of a divorce.
3. Spousal Support
For many couples who divorce in Massachusetts, spousal support will be part of the divorce settlement. If you have a prenuptial agreement, though, how much one spouse will be entitled to and for how long can be determined well before the marriage ends. Note: be careful about prenuptial agreements that grossly limit one spouse’s right to collect support from the other, as a court may find this unconscionable at the time of separation.
4. Protection from Debt
One element of a prenuptial agreement that should absolutely be included, but which is often overlooked, is that of protection from debt. For example, if your spouse goes to school and accrues student loan debt, opens credit cards and fails to pay them off, or otherwise borrows money, you can create protection from liability for that debt via a provision in your prenuptial agreement.
Learn More About Your Prenuptial Agreement Today
If you are planning a wedding, one of your preparations should be meeting with an attorney to discuss the possibility of a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement can be used to protect the best interests of both you and your future spouse, and forming a prenup is indicative of smart planning.
To learn more about creating prenuptial agreements in Massachusetts and key elements of a prenuptial agreement, reach out to the office of Heather Ward Law today. You can reach Massachusetts divorce and prenuptial agreement lawyer, Heather M. Ward, at 617-903-8955 or by sending our firm a message online. Any information you submit to us will be kept confidential.