Antenuptial Agreement

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Antenuptial Agreement Definition

An antenuptial agreement is an agreement made between a couple before marrying. 

With this agreement, they give up future rights to each other’s property in the event of divorce or death. 

Related: Prenuptial Agreement Checklist

What Is An Antenuptial Agreement?

An antenuptial agreement is a written agreement between two people before they get married.

An antenuptial agreement usually lists all the property and debts each person has.

An antenuptial agreement also specifies what each person’s property rights will be after the marriage.

With this agreement, they can determine how:

  • to split assets in a divorce
  • to split debts in a divorce
  • what property is separate property and marital property
  • whether one spouse will stay home to raise kids and for how long
  • how to pay off existing debts
  • who would pay alimony and how much
  • what to do with the marital home in the event of separation
  • how to handle finances during the marriage
  • how to pay taxes
  • how long the agreement lasts (and when it should be updated)
  • what to do with a business if there is one

Related: Divorce Statistics

How Antenuptial Agreements Work

Each state has its own laws for antenuptial agreements. 

But every states’ laws mandate that the antenuptial agreement is procedurally and substantively fair.

If an antenuptial agreement is not fair, the judge can throw it out during a divorce

An antenuptial agreement includes:

  • distinctions between marital and pre-marital property
  • protections against the other spouse’s debts
  • protections to keep the family property in the family
  • directions for property distribution in the event of divorce
  • descriptions for the responsibilities of each spouse 

There are some things that CANNOT get included in antenuptial agreements. 

These things are:

  • details for anything illegal
  • decisions regarding child support 
  • decisions for child custody
  • waiving rights for alimony 

Antenuptial agreements are not ONLY for the event of a divorce

They are also used to determine responsibilities during marriage too. 

This actually adds clarity to the roles of each spouse during marriage. 

Some responsibilities typically included are:

  • how much each spouse will invest for retirement
  • how each spouse will invest
  • management of household bills and expenses
  • management of bank accounts
  • management of credit cards
  • savings contributions
  • property distribution in the event of death
  • whether either spouse can go back to school 

Since finances are a massive reason for divorce, it’s important to sort this out. 

Getting clarity on your responsibilities will make your marriage last longer. 

Related: How Long Does A Divorce Take

Antenuptial Agreement Laws

There are antenuptial agreement laws that you need to know about. 

These laws make sure that your antenuptial agreement is enforceable. 

An antenuptial agreement needs to:

  • be in writing
  • be signed by both parties
  • have two witnesses sign it
  • be notarized

Related: How Long Does Alimony Last

Antenuptial Agreement Laws

Antenuptial agreements are not just for rich people. 

They are great for the everyday couple, too. 

Some reasons to consider getting an antenuptial agreement are if either spouse:

  • owns a business
  • has a stake in family assets
  • has a stake in a family business
  • had assets prior to the marriage
  • has children with another person
  • has significant debts

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