Signing a prenuptial agreement is fast becoming a common practice for couples. In this article, we’ll touch upon the basic meaning of a prenuptial agreement and also give you a template that you can base your agreement on.
While many people may believe that a marriage lasts forever, and that’s the way it should be, statistics and records show otherwise. The number of marriages failing and breaking up has reached alarming heights. Everywhere around us we hear stories of couples getting separated and divorced. It may not be the case with everyone, but taking a few precautions before actually signing the marriage contract sure helps in ensuring that you’re not hung out to dry in the unfortunate event of a divorce. Hence, signing a prenuptial agreement is a very good idea to make sure that both partners are well taken care of, at least financially, in the event of a divorce or death of one of the partners. Let us delve further into the contents of a prenuptial agreement and then, this article will furnish you with a template that you can use as a reference when you are drafting your own.
What is a Prenuptial Agreement
Before we go into the details of composing and executing a prenuptial agreement (or prenup), we need to know what exactly it is. First of all, the gross misconception that a prenup is an agreement that is intended to ensure that either spouse does not ‘run away’ with the belongings and assets of the other, needs to be sorted out. That is a ludicrous perspective to view the agreement from. When two people commit to marry each other, they do it in full awareness of what they’re getting themselves into. So, signing a prenuptial agreement is just one of those steps that they can take in order to maintain themselves as individuals as well as a couple. So, a prenup is in fact, an agreement to ensure that both the parties are given what is rightfully theirs (at the time of marriage), even in the case that the marriage may fail.
In a prenuptial agreement, there are provisions made which are agreed upon by both the individuals regarding the distribution of wealth, property, and assets. This agreement expressly states ‘who’ will get ‘how much’ of ‘what’ in case of divorce or death. Property includes personal and real estate. While real estate includes all the buildings and homes under the name of the individuals, personal property extends to the personal belongings like vehicles, jewelry, bonds, furniture, stocks, bank accounts, etc. It also includes all the property that each of the two individuals is bringing into the marriage and about what is to be done with them. When drafting a prenuptial agreement, it is imperative that you look into the little details too. A layman may not be qualified to get into this, but you can always use professional legal advice to take care of the small but important things like the ratio in which the jointly-held property should be divided or what percentage of which bank account will go to whom if the marriage dissolves, etc. Though signing a prenuptial agreement is not compulsory by law, it is an intelligent step to take before getting married, so that you can rest assured that you will be able to take care of yourself financially even after the marriage. A prenup also deals with the amount of alimony payment, in case of divorce. So, an amount to be paid in case of divorce is decided at the time of the marriage itself. Generally, it does not involve custody of children. This is because the custody of the child is given to the parent who is more financially and emotionally stable to handle the upbringing expenses of the child at the time of the divorce.
Here, we give you a basic template that can be referred to while you draft your own. Remember, this is just a template, it is not the real document. You’ll need to consult a legal adviser about the nitty-gritty of it.
This is to declare that ____________ (Prospective Groom) and ________ (Prospective Bride) wish to enter into a prenuptial agreement, this _____ day of the month _____________ in the year ____ – ____.
Said parties wish to declare that they intend to enter into a legal marriage, as under the law in the state of ___________. With this agreement, the parties intend to enter into a legal bond which will dictate the possession and treatment of any and all assets that are singly and jointly held by the parties at the time of the marriage. These clauses have been explained in the sections 1, 2, and 3 below.
Clause #1: All property individually owned by Prospective Groom and Prospective Bride, at the time of the marriage, will remain under the individual’s ownership even in the event of a divorce. In case of death, it will get transferred to the surviving spouse.
Clause #2: Any property that the couple purchases and owns jointly, will, at the time of divorce, be divided on a 50:50 basis among both parties.
Clause #3: There is to be no provision for alimony, from either spouse to either spouse, in the case of divorce.
Both parties have entered into this contract voluntarily, in sound mind, and not as a result of any kind of emotional or physical pressure.
Both parties have been aided by separate legal counsel in this matter and are fully aware of the ramifications of this agreement, when signed.
___________________ (Sign of Witness 1)
___________________ (Sign of Witness 2)
Remember to get the agreement signed and stamped by the notary and also make sure that the agreement is valid in all the states of the country before you sign it. It may seem a little dicey to talk about it with your partner, but if he or she is as honest and as open as you are about your needs and requirements, it should not be a problem at all.