What to include in your prenuptial agreement, part 1: finances


When an engaged couple is nearing their wedding day, there are many things on their minds. A photographer, dress, invitations and venue are all important items to check off the list, but one of the best ways to prepare for marriage may be with a prenuptial agreement.

Drafting a prenuptial agreement doesn't necessarily mean you're planning to divorce someday (though it will certainly protect you if you do). In fact, discussing difficult financial matters earlier on can actually help strengthen your marriage.

There are several points to discuss as you prepare your prenuptial agreement.

Debt ownership

You may think you know everything about the person you are about to wed, but his or her credit score may not be a factor in your romance. This can be one of the most complicated issues to tackle but can have long-lasting effects - for example, if you plan to buy a house together. You will need to ask tough questions like these suggested by the American Bar Association:

  • What are you willing to borrow money for?
  • How much debt do you have currently?
  • What is your credit score?
  • Do you owe back taxes?
  • Have you pledged any property as collateral?

While it may be uncomfortable, you need to know much more than the annual salary of the person you are planning to marry. Decide what will be done with current debt and who will take ownership should you decide to divorce.

Money management

While past decisions will play a part in your financial planning, you also need to determine the roles you will each hold when you unite as a couple. Other factors you will need to discuss include the following:

  • Whether you will combine bank accounts
  • Who will be in charge of paying bills
  • Whether large expenditures need to be discussed with your partner
  • How much will be allotted to savings
  • Whether you will need to agree on certain expenses
  • Who will be responsible for payments on past debts

You will need to determine who will be responsible for each financial decision during your marriage, as well as what will happen if your marriage ends in divorce. Debt payment reimbursement and loan pay-off are just a few of the decisions you will need to make.

Spousal support and alimony

The decisions about how much spousal support would be offered in the event of divorce can be decided before the wedding day. Each state has different laws on how much is required, but determining amounts you can agree to can save stress later on. The details can be found in Nevada's state laws and can also be explained by an attorney.

When it comes to financial decisions, it is often best to involve an impartial, experienced third party. By hiring an attorney who has experience drafting prenuptial agreements, you will be able to benefit from an outside perspective on which financial aspects need to be covered in your agreement.

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