Untitled-89.jpgA prenuptial agreement, also known as a “prenup” or a marital property agreement, is a legal contract that a couple agrees to before they get married. This type of agreement may address the division of assets and debts or other financial matters in the event of a divorce or separation. While prenuptial agreements are not romantic topics to discuss, they can provide clarity and protection for both parties if their relationship breaks down in the future.

Property Division

One of the main purposes of a prenuptial agreement is to address the division of property in the event of a divorce or the death of either spouse. Wisconsin is a community property state, which means that any property acquired during the marriage is generally considered marital property and is subject to equal division between the spouses. However, a prenup can override this default rule and allow the couple to address issues related to their property in advance of a divorce or separation.

A marital property agreement can specify which assets will be considered separate property and which will be considered marital property. Separate property typically includes assets owned by one spouse before the marriage, as well as inheritances, gifts, and personal injury settlements. By clearly detailing what assets are classified as separate property, a prenup can help protect these assets from being divided in the event of a divorce.

Additionally, a prenuptial agreement can outline the division of marital property, including real estate, bank accounts, investments, and other assets acquired during the marriage. The agreement can specify how property will be divided between the spouses, including whether there will be an equal split or a different arrangement agreed upon by the couple.

Debt Allocation

In addition to property division, a prenuptial agreement can also address the allocation of debts in the event of a divorce. Both spouses are generally responsible for debts incurred during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the account or who made purchases using the credit card. However, a prenup can specify how debts will be allocated between the spouses.

For example, if one spouse has significant student loan debt, a prenuptial agreement can specify that the debt will remain the responsibility of that spouse in the event of a divorce. A prenup may also allocate certain types of debts to either spouse based on purchases they have made. This can help protect one spouse from being burdened with the other spouse’s debt.

Spousal Support

In addition to property division, a prenuptial agreement can address the issue of spousal support, which is also known as alimony or spousal maintenance. Spousal support is financial support paid by one spouse to the other after a divorce or separation. In Wisconsin, family court judges will consider various factors when deciding whether to award spousal support, including the number of years the couple was married, each spouse’s income-earning abilities, and the standard at which the couple lived during their marriage.

By including provisions for spousal support in a prenup, the couple can determine in advance whether spousal support will be awarded and, if so, the amount and duration of the payments. This can provide certainty and avoid potential disputes in the future. 

However, it should be noted that Wisconsin law does not allow a prenup to eliminate a spouse’s ability to support themselves. In cases where a spouse will not have necessary and adequate support after considering all forms of income or financial assistance, a prenup may be overridden, and spousal support may be awarded. A court may also choose to award spousal support if the terms of an agreement, if followed, would force a spouse to apply for public assistance to support themselves.

Contact Our Milwaukee Prenuptial Agreement Attorneys

A prenuptial agreement can address a variety of financial issues in Wisconsin family law cases. By entering into a marital property agreement, couples can have peace of mind understanding how financial matters will be addressed if their marriage ends. However, they will need to be aware of the requirements that must be met for a prenup to be valid and enforceable. If an agreement is unfair to one party, was not signed voluntarily, or if a spouse did not disclose their assets and obligations to the other, a court may determine that the agreement should not be enforced.

If you are considering a prenuptial agreement, the Milwaukee, WI, prenup lawyers at Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown, LLP can help you understand the steps you can take to make sure your agreement meets your needs and will stand up in court should you decide to get a divorce in the future. Contact us at 414-271-1440 to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can assist with your family law needs.