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What Things Can and Can’t Be Included in a Prenuptial Agreement?

By Jeffrey M. Salassa

wedding rings on a prenuptial agreement document on the desk of a Clinton Township divorce attorney

In most instances when couples decide to divorce, the settlement process can be overrun by emotion leaving most people finding it difficult to resolve the most basic of issues and, thus, unable to reach an agreement of any kind. Struggles with communication and compromise are commonplace in divorce proceedings and are likely contributors to the end of the marriage in the first place. As such, given the many trying issues experienced during a divorce, i.e. child custody, spousal support, property division -more people should consider entering into prenuptial agreement before they marry.

While prenuptial agreements can be very useful tools, most people never even consider them as the topic is viewed as taboo. Of course no one enters into marriage believing that the union will end in divorce, but, increasingly, they often do. In the event a marriage does end, prenuptial agreements can save couples a significant amount of time, stress, and money as the terms of the agreement are negotiated while the parties still recognize their love and affection for one another.

However, not all aspects of a divorce can be addressed through a prenuptial agreement and each state has different rules in interpreting and applying the terms of a prenuptial agreement. Despite same, there are some general guidelines that apply to almost all prenuptial agreements.

Prenuptial Agreements Can Address

  • How property will be divided upon divorce;
  • Which items are separate or community property;
  • Spousal support obligations, if any, in most states, including Michigan;
  • Who gets to keep the marital home after divorce;
  • Who will be responsible for premarital debts;
  • How any disagreements concerning the agreement will be resolved;
  • Separation of finances
  • How to provide for children from a previous relationships;

Prenuptial Agreements Cannot Address

  • Who will get custody of the children
  • parenting time and visitation rights
  • Avoiding child support
  • Anything illegal or unfair (unconscionable)
  • Anything that would appear to encourage a divorce

Again, while prenuptial agreements do not apply to every issue encountered during a divorce they can simplify and expedite the process. No one wants their divorce to be unnecessarily prolonged and, likewise, no one wants to expend more money than they have to. For those two reasons alone, all marrying couples should consider a prenuptial agreement.

If you are engaged to be married and live in, or around, the Macomb County area then you should speak with the experienced attorneys at Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. regarding if a prenuptial agreement may be right for you. Give us a call today at 586-263-1600 or click here to contact us online.

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