How Does a Prenuptial Agreement Work?


Ernest Hemmingway once said, “the best way to find out if you can trust someone is to trust them.”

Although true, Mr. Hemingway’s philosophy may be a costly one if you apply it to marriage. Although marriage is supposed to be based on love and trust, it is equally based on economic security and the acquisition of property. When a marriage falls apart, people often argue over such things as child support alimony and who gets to keep the property that was acquired during the marriage. It is always a good idea to make a prenuptial agreement before getting married. Although it may not be very romantic, a prenup can help you, no matter if it is divorce or death that parts you.

Nowadays, there is a good chance it may not, and if you split you want things to be as amicable as possible. Before you walk down the aisle in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, you will want to talk to an attorney at Divergent Family Law Firm. A good family lawyer can help you and your betrothed put together a prenuptial agreement that will put you both at ease and let you get on with the business of planning your wedding.

Putting Together Your Prenup

A prenuptial agreement is a binding contractual arrangement between two people stating how assets will be divided in the event of a divorce or death.

In the state of Wisconsin, real estate, automobiles and furniture acquired during the marriage are considered to be community property. Should the marriage end, community property is distributed by statutory guidelines.

Reasons to Have a Prenup

The media has done a very good job of making it seem as though prenuptial agreements are only for the wealthy and famous. In reality, it is a good idea for most couples to have one. It is a good way to bypass time-consuming divorce proceedings if the relationship goes awry.

If one party makes or has significantly more money or property than the other party has, it might seem obvious that they would retain that money or property in the event of a divorce. However, it does not always work that way. For example, if you own a small office building and your spouse uses that building for storing office supplies, during a divorce they might say they are reliant on the use of that property. A prenuptial agreement will let you set terms for use of the property that each person brings to the marriage.

If the person you are marrying has bad credit and a lot of debt, you may want to protect yourself with a prenuptial agreement. If you have a joint bank account and they have a judgment against them, your funds could be frozen. If you own property and you put their name on the deed, you could end up with a lien on your house. Making a prenup can give you the opportunity to discuss what the two of you want to share and what it is best to keep separate. You will also be able to discuss how property being brought into the marriage will be used by each spouse.

What to Include in Your Agreement

A good prenup will not only specify who gets what at the end of a marriage, but how things will work financially during a marriage. If you want to include a will in the prenup, you may and that can help you surpass probate court in the event of the death of a spouse.

You can decide which state’s laws you want to apply to the prenuptial agreement; it does not have to be Wisconsin. If you and your spouse believe another state’s laws would be more beneficial to you, you may want to discuss this with your attorney.

Limitations to Prenups

Although it is a binding agreement, there are some limitations to the power of a prenup. If you have specified child custody and support terms in the agreement, and then your spouse changes their mind after you split, you cannot hold them to the terms of the prenup, you must go to court.

Wisconsin has a Uniform Premarital Agreement Act which was created to standardize prenuptial agreements. The act requires that all prenups are in writing and signed when a definite marriage is imminent. It is a good idea to have set a date for the nuptials. It also states that the agreement is unenforceable if one party lied about their assets going into the marriage the agreement is deemed ridiculously unfair to one party or one party failed to sign the agreement.

Prenups are complex and always require the assistance of a lawyer. A good prenup can let you know what to expect and eliminate confusion whether you stay together for as long as you live or just as long as you love.

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