Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial Agreements are sometimes referred to as cohabitation agreements, domestic agreements or marriage contracts.  While similar to a cohabitation agreement, a “prenup” is for couples who plan to get married. They may or may not be living together prior to marriage.

Prenuptial agreements create a legally binding contract between a couple who will live together and get married. They set out the rights and obligations of both parties if and when the relationship ends. This includes separation, divorce and the death of a partner.

Couples intending to marry should have a prenuptial agreement in place. The more assets that are involved, specifically real property like houses, the more important a prenuptial agreement is. It is particularly important for couples entering second marriages with children from previous relationships to have a prenuptial agreement.

Prenuptial agreements generally include terms about the following:

  1. How assets each person brought into the relationship are divided;
  2. What specific property is excluded from division;
  3. How debts are divided;
  4. How assets purchased together are divided;
  5. Who pays which expenses during the relationship;
  6.  Payment of spousal support;
  7. Child support in relation to children from previous relationships;
  8. Child custody and access in relation to children from previous relationships;
  9. The disposition of the matrimonial home upon marriage breakdown;
  10. Rights and obligations during the relationship; and
  11. Any other specifically agreed to matter.

Life and relationships change over time. You may want to change some or all of the terms in the prenuptial agreement. Changes often come after marriage, on the birth of children, and retirement. Like any agreement, a prenuptial agreement can be changed as long as both individuals agree to the changes.