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Prenuptial agreements: Important protection before marriage

On Behalf of | Feb 19, 2024 | Family Law |

Prenuptial agreements in North Dakota are legal documents couples enter into before marriage. They usually detail how assets and financial matters will be handled during the marriage and in the event of divorce or death. These agreements serve as a form of financial planning and protection because they allow both parties to clarify their financial rights and responsibilities.

Understanding what should and shouldn’t be included in a prenuptial agreement and how to approach the topic with a future spouse can help that both parties enter into these contracts in informed ways. Basic protections are essential to ensure that a agreement is valid, enforceable and serves its intended purpose without causing undue strain on a couple’s relationship.

What should be included?

A comprehensive prenuptial agreement typically includes provisions for the division of property and debts, the management of household expenses and the handling of assets acquired during the marriage. It can specify whether property acquired before or during the marriage will remain individual property or if it will be shared.

The agreement can also outline arrangements for spousal support in the event of divorce. Provisions regarding the division of retirement benefits, investments and the management of joint bank accounts are also common. Detailing these financial matters in advance can provide clarity and prevent disputes in the future.

What can’t be included?

Certain limitations exist on what can be included in a prenuptial agreement in North Dakota. For instance, the agreement can’t include terms that would adversely affect the right to child support, custody or visitation because these issues are determined based on the child’s best interests at the time of the divorce. Additionally, clauses that promote divorce or violate public policy or law aren’t enforceable.

Ultimately, a prenup has to represent a balance between both parties. If it’s overprotective of one person and not the other, it may be considered invalid. It’s critical to draft a prenup with enough time for both parties to have it reviewed by their own attorney so that a decision isn’t rushed and the agreement’s validity isn’t questioned accordingly in the event of divorce.

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