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When creating a prenup, what are you allowed to include in it?

For many couples, the prenuptial agreement is shrouded in mystery or it is just something that the couple won't consider because of preconceived notions about the contract. That's perfectly understandable because there was a time -- and it wasn't too long ago -- when prenuptial agreements were frowned upon. But now, these contracts are huge parts of not only the divorce process, but the couple's marriage as well.

So what can you include in a prenuptial agreement, and what is forbidden from being included?

These factors can be included in a prenuptial agreement:

  • Debts. This is very important for many couples. The prenup can designate who is responsible for which debts attributed to the spouses.
  • Personal assets and your estate. These things can come under fire during a divorce, so a prenup can be used to protect your estate plan, your business, and your family's property.
  • Designate property. Another important factor which can be addressed in the prenup is which assets are considered "marital property" and which assets are considered "sole property" of one of the spouses.
  • Marriage guidelines. The prenup can even include language that outlines the responsibilities each spouse has during the marriage.

These factors can't be included in a prenuptial agreement:

  • Illegal acts or provisions. Should be obvious, but you'd be surprised what some couples want included in a prenup.
  • Waiving alimony, or anything relating to child custody or support. Some people may be surprised by this, but you cannot outline anything in your prenup that has to do with child support or child custody.
  • Anything that may encourage or entice a divorce. For example, if a provision makes it financially beneficial for someone to divorce, that provision will be set aside.

Source: FindLaw, "What Can and Cannot be Included in Prenuptial Agreement," Accessed July 14, 2015

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