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The issues a prenuptial agreement can and can't address

A few weeks ago we discussed common mistakes made when creating a prenuptial agreement. Avoiding these mistakes is critical, as what may seem like a minor slipup could render the agreement void and leaving an individual susceptible to financial losses. When deciding whether a prenuptial agreement is right, an individual should not just keep an eye on common mistakes. Instead, he or she should also consider what can and can't go into such an agreement. By knowing this, a soon-to-be married individual may be able to avoid common mistakes, ensure the agreement is valid, and thereby protect his or her financial interests.

There are many things that a prenuptial agreement can achieve. One of the biggest is that it can distinguish between marital and separate property. This can help protect one's personal assets by placing it outside the realm of property division in the event of a divorce. A prenuptial agreement can also limit debt liability. By doing this, an individual can avoid being on the hook for his or her spouse's debt if death or divorce occurs. Other things that can be achieved through a prenuptial agreement include detailing property division in the event of divorce and define marital financial responsibilities.

There are issues that a prenuptial agreement cannot handle, though. One of the most important is that child custody and child support cannot be decided via a prenuptial agreement. Similarly, a soon-to-be spouse cannot waive his or her right to spousal support simply by agreeing to it in a prenuptial agreement. Personal matters, too, are disallowed from being addressed in these agreements.

A prenuptial agreement can be a powerful tool to protect one's financial interests before tying the knot. Some say that these agreements are only preparing for a failed marriage, but nothing could be further from the truth. Instead, a prenuptial agreement allows couples to put their finances aside so that they can focus on what really matters: their new life together.

Source: FindLaw, "What Can and Cannot be Included in Prenuptial Agreements," accessed on Dec. 12, 2016

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