A Prenuptial Agreement is a contract executed between parties prior to their marriage concerning the division of assets, debts and possibly spousal support in the event of divorce. Almost anything can be included in a prenuptial agreement, except matters of child support, child custody and visitation.
Many people think of prenuptial agreements as the province of celebrity marriages, and that they are designed to award million dollar settlements in short term marriages. This is not the case. As more and more Americans are marrying later and later in life, many of us have our own assets when we get married, such as owning your own home and retirement or other investments, and you want to make sure your assets are protected. Prenuptial agreements have negative connotation for many people, but it is actually smart financial planning, just like having a will or a retirement savings strategy.
The simplest form of prenuptial agreement can simply state that each spouse retains ownership in anything they owned prior to the marriage and any items acquired subsequent to the marriage in that spouse’s individual name. In that scenario, the couple would have to intentionally title any assets in joint names for them to be considered “marital” property. In a country where many marriages end in divorce, a prenuptial agreement can help take financial incentives out of the decision-making process if your marriage hits a rocky patch because the financial decisions have already been made.
For a prenuptial agreement to be valid in the state of Alabama, both parties must have independent legal counsel to advise them of their rights and interests. If you are planning your marriage and are considering a prenuptial agreement, please contact us for a consultation.