What Is A Prenuptial Agreement?

A prenuptial agreement, or a premarital agreement, is a written contract created by two individuals who plan to be married.  This agreement lists all individually owned property, such as homes and businesses, family assets, stocks and bonds, savings accounts as well as debts, and specifies what will and will not remain individually owned property after the legalization of marriage.  Prenuptial agreements also specify whether spousal support will be paid in the event of a divorce, and the intentions regarding distribution of individually owned property upon death.

Factors that cannot be stipulated in prenuptial agreements are binding legal matters such as child support; i.e. a couple cannot lawfully agree in a prenuptial agreement that either party will in no way be responsible for restitution.  And, a few states do not allow prenuptial agreements to modify or eliminate the right of a spouse to receive court­ordered alimony at divorce, although a prenuptial agreement can facilitate in the degree of compensation.

The information on this page is meant to provide a general overview of the law. The laws in your state and/or city may deviate significantly from those described here. If you have specific questions related to your situation you should speak with a local attorney.

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