How specific can a prenuptial agreement be?

Drafting and signing marital contracts is becoming a pretty common practice among couples in New York and elsewhere. While thinking of marriage as a business arrangement is not romantic by any means, taking this stance by pursing a prenuptial agreement can simply offer certain assurances, protections and even a sense of calm before pledging one's life and love to another. These agreements can be extremely specific. How much so depends on each couples' wishes.

Some people may not have many specific details they wish to include in marital contracts. Others, however, may want very particular items listed. Details do matter. The failure to be precise can make all the difference when it comes to dividing property if -- for whatever the reason -- the marriage does not work out as planned. Things included in prenuptial agreements that often require clear-cut instructions include:

  • Separate property including family heirlooms, business ventures and inheritances
  • Provisions for children, specifically for children from previous marriages or relationships
  • Marriage responsibilities

Listing marriage responsibilities can be particularly tough to tackle. Here, it is important to not go overboard, but that does not mean that one cannot put real thought in regard to what is expected of one's partner. A few responsibilities some may wish to include are:

  • How each spouse is to file taxes
  • Name who is to manage household finances
  • Specify how much each spouse is to contribute to savings
  • Give instructions as to how disputes are to be handled

A prenuptial agreement is not a one size fits all contract. It is something that can be tailored to a couple's specific wants and desires. Couples in New York can and should seek legal guidance in the negotiating and drafting of marital agreements that are not only detailed, but fair and legally binding.

Source: FindLaw, "What Can and Cannot be Included in Prenuptial Agreements", Accessed on June 6, 2015

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