Having a prenuptial agreement in place before you marry is a wise idea, whether you or your spouse-to-be have considerable assets or not. A prenup can detail what personal and business assets and debts each of you is bringing into the marriage. It can also help protect both of you financially should the marriage end in divorce. It can likewise protect assets you intend to go to your children from a prior relationship.

What’s Required When Drafting a Prenup?

A prenup should always be drafted by an experienced family law attorney. Both parties should have their own attorney to ensure that their interests are protected. Sometimes one person’s attorney draws up the agreement while the other person’s attorney reviews it. Some states require that both people have their own attorney.

In some states, there is a requirement for how much time must pass between the signing of the prenup and the wedding. A prenup signed on the wedding day may not hold up in court if it’s challenged because it can appear as though one party was pressured to sign it or not given adequate time to review it and get legal guidance.

Both people need to fully and accurately disclose their assets and liabilities during the prenup process. Take your time to make sure that you’ve collected all of the necessary financial records. Your attorney can give you a list of documents you’ll need.

Separate Versus Marital Property

Determining what will be considered separate property and marital property is an essential part of drafting a prenup. This is crucial if you and your spouse divorce and need to divide your property. Your lawyer will advise you on how to ensure that your separate property remains separate and is not commingled with marital assets. You can detail what will happen to assets or income you may receive during the marriage, such as an inheritance or profits from a business.

Of course, no one goes into a marriage expecting to use their prenuptial agreement. However, it is a good opportunity for you and your partner to discuss your individual financial situations and your financial goals for the future. As one family law attorney notes, “Prenups are good because they preserve the expectations of the parties and prevent surprises in a divorce trial.” A prenup is also an insurance policy that can protect both of you financially if you don’t live happily ever after.