As you prepare for your Ohio wedding, probably the last thing on your mind is entering into a prenuptial agreement prior to your marriage. Nevertheless, you and your intended may well wish to consider signing a prenup before you marry, especially if one or both of you own substantial property and/or if one or both of you have children from a previous relationship.

Unfortunately, even though you and your future spouse have every intention of staying together until death do you part, the American divorce rate is close to 50% and has been so for a good 40 years. This means that however much the two of you love each other, you still need to be aware that your marriage stands a good chance of ending in divorce. Should your marriage become one of the divorce statistics, having a prenuptial agreement in place could save you numerous heartaches and headaches in the future.

Standard prenup provisions

Your prenup can be as simple or complex as you wish, and its length may well depend on the number of assets each of you brings to the marriage, their natures, and their values.

Most prenups include such things as the following:

  • A listing of the property and assets each of you currently owns
  • A provision stating that should a divorce occur, each of you will retain the property and assets you now own as your separate property
  • A provision stating how you intend to divide whatever marital property the two of you accumulate during your marriage in the event of a divorce
  • A provision stating how you intend to handle any marital debt, including credit card debt, the two of you accumulate during your marriage
  • A provision stating how you intend to handle your respective retirement accounts, pension plans, 401(k)s, etc.
  • A provision stating how you intend to provide for any children either of you has from a previous relationship

In addition, if one of you already owns a business, or if you think there is a good possibility that the two of you may start one together after you marry, your prenup should include how you intend to handle those businesses in the event of a divorce.

Prenup no-nos

Remember, your prenuptial agreement can address only financial issues, not personal ones. Therefore, you cannot include things such as the following:

  • Which of you decides where to live
  • Which of you decides where to spend your vacations, holidays, etc.
  • Which of you will do which household chores
  • How you will raise any children you have during your marriage

Prenup misconceptions

Unfortunately, many young couples look on prenups as contracts only rich people enter into. Others think that bringing up the idea of a prenup indicates a lack of trust in the other party. Neither of these misconceptions gives a true idea of the value of a prenuptial agreement. When you stop to think about it, bringing up the idea of a prenup indicates that you are a thoughtful, financially responsible adult who believes that your future spouse is one, too. Entering into a prenup actually becomes yet another way to affirm your beloved and show that you respect his or her financial decisions.