Marriage and Money

Understanding the Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement may be in your advantage if you or your spouse is entering into marriage with a good amount of personal or business assets on your side.

What is a Prenuptial Agreement?

If you and your spouse-to-be are planning a wedding and entering into a marriage with a fair amount of personal and/or business assets on either side, then it may be in your best interest to sign a prenuptial agreement before you officially tie the knot.

What is a Prenup?

A prenup is a legally binding document that provides provisions for dividing up your money, property, and other assets, and outlines what you intend to provide in terms of spousal support, should your union come to an end. It can certainly be an unpleasant subject to address right before a marriage, but a prenup may be your best option to protect your personal assets that you had accumulated before the marriage, because it could help spare both of you the time and expense of a lengthy and stressful court battle, should you later decide to divorce.

If you've read extensively about certain high profile celebrity divorces, you might be aware that a prenup can also be used to establish in writing what each spouse expects from the other in terms of responsibilities such as providing childcare, or maintaining stable employment, paying bills, staying faithful to the marriage, etc. It can also spell out what ramifications may occur if these stipulations are violated, such as divorce, or a possible reduction in spousal support, or loss of assets. (Do note that if you live in a “community property” state, you likely won't be able to entirely forfeit your right to alimony.)

A prenup can also protect you if your betrothed has a significant amount of debt that you do not wish to take on, either during the marriage or after the divorce. If either of you have children from previous marriages, a prenup can be especially useful, since it could be used to stipulate what your children stand to inherit in terms of assets and property in the event of your divorce or even death. A prenup can never be used to limit custody, child support, or visitation rights, however, since the welfare of children is a matter of public policy that cannot be limited by a private agreement.

If you neglect to sign a prenup, your assets will be divided up via a settlement you negotiate, subject to court approval. If you are actively preparing for a divorce, consult the Protective Learning Center for helpful information about the difference between legal separation and divorce, and to find out which financial mistakes to avoid when getting divorced.

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All Learning Center articles are general summaries that can be used when considering your financial future at various life stages. The information presented is for educational purposes and is meant to supplement other information specific to your situation. It is not intended as investment advice and does not necessarily represent the opinion of Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Learning Center articles may describe services and financial products not offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries. Descriptions of financial products contained in Learning Center articles are not intended to represent those offered by Protective Life or its subsidiaries.

Neither Protective Life nor its representatives offer legal or tax advice. We encourage you to consult with your financial adviser and legal or tax adviser regarding your individual situations before making investment, social security, retirement planning, and tax‐related decisions. For information about Protective Life and its products and services, visit www.protective.com.

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Prenuptial Agreement

Nobody plans for a divorce. But if it happens, the process can be complicated and stressful for all concerned. Despite its negative connotations, a prenuptial agreement can serve as a way to preserve your assets, and even alleviate a certain amount of stress by establishing in writing certain guidelines and parameters. Asset preservation may not be at the top of the list when you're engaged to be married, but a prenuptial agreement can be a useful tool should the unthinkable happen. For more information, visit our learning center.

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