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What can be included in a prenuptial agreement: Part 1

Every day people in Rhode Island may read their favorite celebrity magazine and learn of a new celebrity divorce. Some famous couples have prenuptial agreements in place to protect their assets should they divorce. However, individuals of any age, fame or wealth can create a prenuptial agreement.

What kind of topics can a prenuptial agreement in Rhode Island cover? First of all, there is separate and marital property to contend with. To start with, each partner should make a complete list of all of his or her property as well as his or her liabilities. After all, being honest and up-front bodes well for future constructive conversations. Couples will need to decide which assets and liabilities will remain separate property or which will be marital property. Or take the example of one spouse who uses his or her premarital assets to pay the student loans of his or her spouse. Is this considered a gift from one spouse to the other, or will the spouse who paid the loan be reimbursed by the other spouse?

Marital property in Rhode Island includes the assets and liabilities that the couple incurs while married. A prenuptial agreement can be used to determine whether marital assets will be jointly owned equally between each spouse, or if a different arrangement will be used.

Sometimes a couple in Rhode Island receives a financial windfall in the form of a loan to the couple, a gift to the couple or a down payment for a house. Will these items be considered marital property? Or will it be allocated to the spouse whose family gave the couple the funds?

In addition, a prenuptial agreement can cover an individual's credit. Couples in Rhode Island may want to discuss their credit reports, and discuss how they will pay down existing debts or take on new debts.

In essence, prenuptial agreements in Rhode Island are contracts that address property issues that come up during the marriage and after a divorce. Thinking about these things before getting married may not be that appealing to those who care more about bridal gowns, tuxes, flowers, wedding cakes and all the other details that come with planning a wedding. However, creating a prenuptial agreement can protect your property should times and relationships change.

Source: American Bar Association, "Premarital Agreement Issues Checklist," accessed on March 18, 2016

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