When a couple first ties the knot, they often cannot fathom the idea of separating from each other. However, as the marriage progresses, problems may arise, some of which are too big to overcome. According to the National Library of Medicine, divorced couples report several reasons for ending their marriages, including lack of commitment, infidelity, financial problems and excessive conflict.
No one knows what the future holds, so it is in your best interest to prepare for the possibility of divorce. If you are planning to get married soon, a prenuptial agreement is often the best way to avoid a messy divorce in the future.
What is included in a prenup?
Prenups primarily address the issue of property division in the event of a divorce. However, other issues may also be addressed.
A prenuptial agreement can resolve property division and other divorce issues in advance, as courts will likely adhere to the terms of the agreement, if it meets all state requirements.
Under Indiana Code 31-1-3, your agreement may include the following:
- List of separate assets: Property acquired by one spouse prior to marriage, individual debts and gifts and inheritances that one spouse received during the marriage is likely to be considered separate property and will not be subjected to property division in the divorce.
- List of marital assets: In equitable distribution states, like Indiana, marital property, or property acquired by the couple during the marriage, is distributed fairly and equitably between the spouses rather than split evenly between them.
- Specifics of asset and debt distribution: Details on how marital assets and debts should be distributed in the divorce (regulations on buying, selling or transferring marital property etc.).
- Protections for children from past relationships: Provisions to allow children from a previous relationship to inherit your property.
- Financial responsibilities of each spouse: Specifics as to which spouse will oversee managing of joint bank accounts, retirement benefits, etc., during the marriage.
- Spousal maintenance: Specify how much spousal support one person would receive or waive the right to spousal support.
Child custody and child support generally cannot be included in a prenup and will be determined later.
A prenup can make the divorce process much easier for both you and your spouse, if the court finds it to be enforceable.